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 GrahamMcConnell: I'm going to give Biden's Supreme Court nominee 'a fair look' The Hill's Morning Report - Who will replace Justice Breyer? Breyer retirement throws curveball into midterms 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."

"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 TrumpMark Walker to stay in North Carolina Senate race Judge lays out schedule for Eastman to speed up records processing for Jan. 6 panel Michael Avenatti cross-examines Stormy Daniels in his own fraud trial 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 LeeSenate Republicans press federal authorities for information on Texas synagogue hostage-taker Put partisan politics aside — The Child Tax Credit must be renewed immediately These Senate seats are up for election in 2022 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 TillisSenate Republicans press federal authorities for information on Texas synagogue hostage-taker Bipartisan Senate group discusses changes to election law There is a bipartisan path forward on election and voter protections MORE (N.C.) and Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold JohnsonJewish groups sound the alarm as anti-vaccine mandate movement invokes Holocaust  Former Senate candidate launches bid for governor in Wisconsin Wisconsin Democratic Senate candidate Sarah Godlewski rolls out rural policy plan 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.