Democrat to announce Senate bid Wednesday against Lindsey Graham

Democrat to announce Senate bid Wednesday against Lindsey Graham
© MSNBC

Democrat Jaime Harrison, the former chairman of the South Carolina Democratic Party, is set to announce Wednesday his Senate bid against Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamGraham neck and neck with challenger in South Carolina Senate race: poll Harris slams Trump's Supreme Court pick as an attempt to 'destroy the Affordable Care Act' Sunday shows preview: Lawmakers prepare for SCOTUS confirmation hearings before election MORE (R-S.C.).

“The formal announcement will take place tomorrow morning. I’ll be back in South Carolina tonight, and it’s going to be tomorrow morning where I will formally announce that I am running for the United States Senate for South Carolina against Lindsey Graham,” Harrison said on MSNBC’s “The Rachel MaddowRachel Anne MaddowGOP lawmakers distance themselves from Trump comments on transfer of power Schiff urges Trump administration members to resign: 'You cannot maintain your silence' Michael Cohen: Trump hates Obama because he's everything he 'wants to be' MORE Show” on Tuesday night. 

Harrison announced in February he would form an exploratory committee as he weighed potentially launching a Senate bid in 2020.

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Harrison currently serves as associate chairman and counselor for the Democratic National Committee (DNC). He first garnered national headlines when he unsuccessfully ran for DNC chair in 2017.

He will face an uphill battle to defeat Graham in the ruby red Palmetto State. South Carolina has not elected a Democrat to the Senate since 1998. It voted for President TrumpDonald John TrumpNew Biden campaign ad jabs at Trump's reported 0 income tax payments Ocasio-Cortez: Trump contributed less in taxes 'than waitresses and undocumented immigrants' Third judge orders Postal Service to halt delivery cuts MORE by 14 points in 2016 and Graham by more than 15 points in 2014. Graham also entered 2019 with $3.2 million in his Senate campaign account. 

However, South Carolina Democrats saw a glimpse of hope last year when Democrat Joe CunninghamJoseph CunninghamKate Schroder in Ohio among Democratic challengers squelching GOP hopes for the House Warning signs flash for Lindsey Graham in South Carolina Trump asked Chamber of Commerce to reconsider Democratic endorsements: report MORE upset Republican nominee Katie Arrington in the state’s 1st Congressional District.

Graham, who was first elected to the Senate in 2002, remains popular in South Carolina and has emerged as one of Trump’s staunchest allies on Capitol Hill, flexing his muscles as chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee to help advance several of the president's judicial nominees.

“Instead of having a senator who’s pushing back on these types of things, he’s waiting to find his next lunch or dinner date with the president. That’s not helping the people of South Carolina. I want to represent the people of South Carolina,” Harrison told The Hill in February.

Graham said in February after Harrison said he would launch his exploratory committee that he was confident in his chances for reelection regardless of his opponent. 

“The question for voters ... is, am I the best choice of the choices available,” Graham told McClatchy. “I think I’d make a good case, no matter who runs, that I’m the good choice. Time will tell.”