South Carolina Senate Candidate Explains His Strategy to Beat Lindsey Graham

Despite South Carolina being a historically Republican State, Senator Lindsey Graham is facing a challenger in 2020 that is raising money at a strong clip, and believes he can win.

You may have seen Jamie Harrison on one of his many recent cable news appearances, as he has become a staple on MSNBC.

Harrison recently spoke to BET about his strategy to beat Graham:

BET:

Lindsay Graham has been in office a long time and has national recognition, plus South Carolina is considered a red state. What’s your strategy to beat him?

Jamie Harrison:

Well listen, as people tell me all the time, this is an uphill battle, but it’s a hill worth climbing. What we have seen in this state right now is there are communities that have lost all sense of hope. T

here are communities that feel that nobody’s fighting for them. That’s Black communities, Brown communities, and white communities and that’s part of the reason why I’ve gotten into this senate race.

And despite the fact that I’m running against somebody who’s been in Washington D.C. for 25 years, who is close with the President, we are seeing that this campaign is like no other campaign we’ve seen in recent history in South Carolina. 

Well listen, as people tell me all the time, this is an uphill battle, but it’s a hill worth climbing. What we have seen in this state right now is there are communities that have lost all sense of hope. There are communities that feel that nobody’s fighting for them. 

That’s Black communities, Brown communities, and white communities and that’s part of the reason why I’ve gotten into this senate race. And despite the fact that I’m running against somebody who’s been in Washington D.C. for 25 years, who is close with the President, we are seeing that this campaign is like no other campaign we’ve seen in recent history in South Carolina.

WRAL reports South Carolina is a red state, without question — but that didn’t stop one man from yelling out the rallying cry “Yes we can” at a recent gathering for Jaime Harrison, a Democrat who hopes to challenge longtime Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham in the fall.

About 200 people came out last week to Harrison’s campaign event at Emmanuel Baptist Church of James Island in Charleston, where the smell of pluff mud — a thick sludge from the state’s coastal marshes — hung in the air. Many in attendance were staunch Democrats, there to hear Harrison, a Yale-educated former aide to South Carolina’s Democratic Rep. Jim Clyburn, talk about the dangers posed by President Donald Trump.

The party’s Senate primary isn’t until June, but Harrison was focused on energizing voters heading into Saturday’s presidential primary — though he hasn’t endorsed a candidate.

Harrison raised nearly $3.6 million during the last three months of 2019, outraising most other Democratic Senate challengers with the exception of Arizona’s Mark Kelly, the astronaut husband of former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, and Amy McGrath, who is running a long-shot campaign to unseat Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in Kentucky.

Graham raised even more that Harrison last quarter: almost $4 million. It was a record for a single quarter of fundraising in South Carolina, and Graham is now sitting on more than $10 million, far more than Harrison’s $4.7 million.

That’s put their race on track to be the most expensive Senate campaign in South Carolina history, even though almost no one who watches South Carolina politics closely — except maybe Harrison — thinks it’s possible that Graham will be unseated.

South Carolina is a Republican stronghold, voting for the Republican candidate in 13 of the last 14 presidential elections. Trump won South Carolina by 14 points, and carried the independent vote. In 2014, Graham beat his most recent Democratic challenger by nearly 16 points. An NBC/Marist poll released earlier in the month put Graham ahead by 17 points.

Harrison’s hopes of narrowing that gap ride on whoever comes out the victor in the Democratic presidential race. Former Vice President Joe Biden was leading in the most recent poll, released by Monmouth University earlier in the week, while Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, the democratic socialist who’s emerged as the front-runner for the nomination, was polling second in South Carolina.