Jaime Harrison raises $22 million in two weeks for South Carolina Senate bid


Democrat Jaime Harrison raked in more than $22 million in the first two weeks of October for his campaign to unseat Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), according to the candidates’ latest filings with the Federal Election Commission (FEC). 

Harrison pulled in just shy of $22.1 million, about $7 million more than Graham raised in the pre-general filing election period spanning Oct. 1-14. The fundraising haul comes less than two weeks after Harrison announced raising a record-shattering $57 million in the third quarter of 2020. 

Graham managed to pull in $14.8 million in the same time frame, giving him the second highest fundraising total for a Senate candidate in the two-week fundraising period.

Graham’s filings with the FEC show a total of about $9 million raised in early October. But his campaign said that, due to compliance software limitations, the filings do not reflect his total fundraising for the two-week period and that the report will be updated.

Despite those massive cash hauls, both candidates spent all of what they raised and then some. Harrison dropped $26.6 million, while Graham spent nearly $16.5 million heading into the final sprint to Election Day. 

Harrison, who has raised nearly $100 million in 2020 alone, now has less than $3.5 million left in the bank. In a memo shared with supporters on Thursday, his campaign manager Zack Carroll said that the campaign needed to raise $10 million in the final 12 days of the race in order “to match Republican spending” ahead of Election Day.

“To make history on Election Day and defeat Lindsey Graham, our fundraising has to pick up so we can match Mitch McConnell,” Carroll wrote, referring to the Kentucky Senate majority leader.

Graham entered the final stretch of his reelection bid with about $13.1 million in cash on hand, his campaign said.

Harrison, a former South Carolina Democratic Party chair, has emerged as a serious threat to Graham in recent months, propelled by a wave of donations from Democrats eager to oust one of President Trump’s staunchest allies in the Senate. 

Recent polling shows a tight race in South Carolina. A survey from Morning Consult released on Thursday found Harrison leading Graham by a 2-point margin, while a poll from The New York Times and Siena College out last week showed Graham ahead by 6 points. 

Despite the tightening race, Harrison still faces an uphill battle. South Carolina hasn’t elected a Democrat to the Senate in more than two decades, and Trump is almost certain to carry the state in the presidential election after he won there by more than 14 points in 2016.

Harrison has sought to avoid discussing Trump, the presidential race or high-profile national themes throughout his campaign, sticking to carefully tailored talking points about health care and Graham’s record in Washington. 

But both candidates’ finances have benefited from a heated national political climate. Money poured into Harrison’s campaign last month following the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Graham’s subsequent efforts to quickly confirm a conservative replacement to the court before the November election.

Graham, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, also saw his fundraising explode as conservative donors, energized by the Supreme Court fight, contributed to his campaign. 

A win for Harrison in November would amount to a major blow for Republicans, who are already fighting tooth and nail to hold onto their 53-47 Senate majority. Democrats are targeting other GOP incumbents in more favorable states, like Colorado, Arizona, Maine and North Carolina, and have put Republicans in red states like Georgia on the defensive. 

Republicans, however, are eyeing a few opportunities to unseat incumbent Democrats. In Alabama, Republican Tommy Tuberville is favored to beat Sen. Doug Jones (D) in November. The GOP is also seeking to upset Sen. Gary Peters (D) in Michigan. 

—Updated at 3:08 p.m.

Tags 2020 election Donald Trump doug jones Fundraising Gary Peters Jaime Harrison Joe Biden Lindsey Graham Mitch McConnell Ruth Bader Ginsburg South Carolina politics South Carolina Senate race

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