Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, who is up for reelection in 2020, has a number of advantages: He is a GOP incumbent in a red state, and he is a Trump supporter in a state that President Donald Trump won by 14 percent in 2016. But Democrat Jaime Harrison isn’t afraid to take Graham on, and according to South Carolina’s Post and Courier, his campaign raised $2.1 million over the last three months — which is an impressive amount in light of how Republican South Carolina is. Factoring in money raised prior to that, Harrison’s campaign has brought in around $4 million altogether since a committee was established back in February.
The Post and Courier quotes Harrison as saying, “Our campaign is growing and powered by grassroots supporters across South Carolina and the nation. I am fighting to ensure that every South Carolinian has access to affordable health care, good paying jobs and student loan debt relief.”
Graham’s re-election campaign, not surprisingly, has a larger war chest: $6.4 million. Nonetheless, the fact that Harrison is performing as well as he is against a well-known GOP incumbent in a red state is an important development. The 64-year-old Graham has a long history in South Carolina politics: he served in the South Carolina House of Representatives from 1993-1995 before serving in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1995-2003 and entering the U.S. Senate in January 2003.
Graham was a close ally of the late Sen. John McCain, although many pundits have noted that if he were still alive, McCain — a blistering critic of Trump — would be appalled by how much of a Trump sycophant Graham has become. Harrison has been attacking Graham as someone who is “no longer a statesman with integrity.”
In South Carolina, economist Gloria Tinubu is also seeking the Democratic nomination to run against Graham in 2020.
Politically, South Carolina continues to be a much tougher state for Democrats than North Carolina, its neighbor to the north. While South Carolina remains deep red, North Carolina has evolved into a swing state: Trump defeated Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton by only 3% in North Carolina in 2016 compared to 14% in South Carolina.