Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., has lost ground to his Democrat challenger, Jaime Harrison, according to the Cook Political Report, which changed South Carolina from “likely Republican” to “lean Republican” on Monday.
“Ever since he launched his underdog bid against veteran GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham, former South Carolina Democratic Party Chairman Jaime Harrison has needed a lot of things to go right to be genuinely competitive in a place as heavily Republican as the Palmetto State,” notes Cook’s Senate and governor’s editor Jessica Taylor, who adds that “Racial injustice protests that swept the nation in early June also give Harrison, who is Black, further motivation for turning out African-American voters in the state.”
Cook notes that Harrison outraised Graham in two consecutive quarters and has almost matched him in total funds raised, with $29 million to Graham’s $30.9 million.
“Several sources in the state point to one crucial decision by the Harrison campaign that has made him more competitive than Democrats in South Carolina usually are — going up early on TV with positive, biographical ads that were left unanswered by Graham for almost two months, with Harrison beginning ads in early April while Graham went on air in late May.”
Cook concludes that although “there are still large hurdles that remain for Harrison to become the first Democrat elected to the Senate from South Carolina since 1998, it’s clear this race is becoming more competitive, and Graham faces an incredibly strong challenge.”
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