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Harrison calls on Graham to take a COVID-19 test before debate

Harrison calls on Graham to take a COVID-19 test before debate
© MSNBC

South Carolina Senate candidate Jaime Harrison called on Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamImpeachment trial tests Trump's grip on Senate GOP An attack on America that's divided Congress — and a nation The Hill's Morning Report - Biden asks Congress to expand largest relief response in U.S. history MORE (R-S.C.) to take a COVID-19 test before their debate on Friday. 

Harrison, the Democratic candidate, tweeted on Thursday that he and the debate moderators committed to taking a coronavirus test before the debate, adding that his test is scheduled.

“The debate moderators and I have agreed to take a COVID test prior to debating,” he posted. “I've scheduled my test, and I am calling on Sen. Graham to do the same.”

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A spokesperson for Graham did not immediately return a request for comment. 

Graham tweeted a statement later Thursday condemning Harrison's request, saying the candidate is "demanding special treatment" by requesting testing for himself and those who will be around him at the debate.

"South Carolinians do not appreciate Harrison putting himself above others," he wrote on the social media platform. "If Mr. Harrison is not able to interact with South Carolinians on the same terms they live their lives, he should not be their senator."

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"Is any other South Carolinian demanding that every person they come in contact with be tested before they meet?" the senator asked in his statement.

Graham said he has listened to medical experts, followed their advice and "will continue to follow the guidance of my doctors, not my political opponent."

"Whether Mr. Harrison attends tomorrow's debate is his decision, not mine. I will be there," he added. 

During last week’s debate, Harrison spoke behind a plexiglass barrier after President TrumpDonald TrumpFacebook temporarily bans ads for weapons accessories following Capitol riots Sasse, in fiery op-ed, says QAnon is destroying GOP Section 230 worked after the insurrection, but not before: How to regulate social media MORE and several of Graham’s Republican colleagues tested positive for COVID-19. 

“Tonight, I am taking it seriously. That’s why I put this plexiglass up, because it’s not just about me. It’s about the people in my life that I have to take care of as well: my two boys, my wife, my grandmother,” Harrison said during the debate.

Graham said he was tested last week after hearing that Sen. Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeRepublicans wrestle over removing Trump Lawmakers, leaders offer condolences following the death of Capitol Police officer GOP senators urging Trump officials to not resign after Capitol chaos MORE (R-Utah), a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, tested positive for the virus. Graham, who is the chairman of the committee, reported testing negative.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends staying home “even if you test negative for COVID-19 or feel healthy” because symptoms can develop two to 14 days after exposure to the virus. 

Other Republican Sens. Thom TillisThomas (Thom) Roland TillisMcConnell about to school Trump on political power for the last time Seven Senate races to watch in 2022 Top GOP senators acknowledge Biden as president-elect after Electoral College vote MORE (N.C.) and Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold JohnsonGOP senators call for commission to investigate Capitol attack Wisconsin Democrats make ad buy calling on Johnson to resign Efforts to secure elections likely to gain ground in Democrat-controlled Congress MORE (Wis.) also tested positive.  

This week, the nonpartisan Cook Political Report moved the South Carolina Senate race from “lean Republican” to a “toss-up,” indicating that Harrison was gaining ground in the race.

--Updated at 8:22 p.m.