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Obama urges voters to back Graham challenger in South Carolina

Former President Obama urged South Carolina voters to throw their support behind Democratic candidate Jaime Harrison in his bid to unseat Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamRepublicans ready to become deficit hawks again under a President Biden Let's give thanks to Republican defenders of democracy Clyburn: Biden falling short on naming Black figures to top posts MORE (R-S.C.) in a campaign ad released Monday. 

“Hey, South Carolina. If you want a senator who will fight for criminal justice reform, lower college costs and make health care affordable, you’ve got to vote for my friend Jaime Harrison,” Obama said in the 30-second-long video tweeted by Harrison. 

“This year, you can vote early, or you can vote on Election Day, Nov. 3,” the former president continued. “Early voting is happening right now. Go to iwillvote.com to find your early vote location. Make your plan and vote for Jaime today.”

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Obama has issued similar calls for voters across the country to cast their ballots early in support of Democratic candidates, including in a Democratic National Committee ad released last week in which he argued that next month’s general election results are “going to be close.” 

He is also expected to hit the campaign trail in support of Democratic presidential nominee Joe BidenJoe BidenBiden adds to vote margin over Trump after Milwaukee County recount Krebs says allegations of foreign interference in 2020 election 'farcical'  New DOJ rule could allow executions by electrocution, firing squad MORE, his former vice president, in the final weeks before Election Day, including in Philadelphia on Wednesday. 

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Harrison poses a surprising threat to Graham in South Carolina, a deeply conservative state that has not elected a Democrat to the Senate in more than two decades. 

A New York Times-Siena College poll released last week placed Graham at a 6-percentage-point lead over Harrison, not far outside the poll's 4.5-percentage-point margin of error. 

Earlier this month, Harrison’s campaign reported that it had raised a record $57 million in the third quarter this year, and the Cook Political Report moved the Senate race from "lean Republican" to a "toss up." 

The Times-Siena College survey also polled likely voters on the presidential race, with President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden adds to vote margin over Trump after Milwaukee County recount Krebs says allegations of foreign interference in 2020 election 'farcical'  Republicans ready to become deficit hawks again under a President Biden MORE getting 49 percent support compared to 41 percent for Biden. Trump won the state by 14 points in 2016 against Democratic nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonValadao unseats Cox in election rematch Trump says he'll leave White House if Biden declared winner of Electoral College Federal workers stuck it out with Trump — now, we're ready to get back to work MORE.  

In 1976, former President Jimmy CarterJimmy CarterCan Biden vanquish Democrats' old, debilitating ghosts? CNN acquires Joe Biden documentary 'President in Waiting' French radio station mistakenly publishes obituaries of celebrities MORE was the last Democratic presidential nominee to win South Carolina.