Jaime Harrison debates Graham behind plexiglass shield

South Carolina Democratic Senate candidate Jaime Harrison set up a plexiglass barrier between himself and Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamLate donor surges push election spending projections to new heights Pence seeks to lift GOP in battle for Senate Wall Street backed Biden campaign with million in 2020 cycle: report MORE (R-S.C.) during the first debate of their tightening race on Saturday night.

Harrison stood with the barrier to his side during the debate, which was held in Columbia, S.C., at Allen University. He addressed the move while he was calling on South Carolinians to hold elected officials accountable for their handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Democratic candidate said that “we shouldn’t blame anybody for the inception of this disease,” adding that “where blame should come is how we handle this disease, whether or not we take it seriously.”


“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.

“Let’s take this issue seriously and do all that we can to not only take care of ourselves but each other,” Harrison added. 


Graham said on Friday that he was tested for COVID-19 after learning that Sen. Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeTrump says ex-staffer who penned 'Anonymous' op-ed should be 'prosecuted' White House to host swearing-in event for Barrett on Monday night Pence adviser Marty Obst tests positive for COVID-19 MORE (R-Utah), a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, tested positive for the virus. Graham, the chairman of the committee, said he tested negative. 

Guy King, the Harrison campaign’s communications director, said Graham "should have" self-quarantined, adding that his test results could be "inconclusive after such a recent exposure."


“Jaime Harrison has always taken the coronavirus very seriously,” King said.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "Even if you test negative for COVID-19 or feel healthy, you should stay home (quarantine) since symptoms may appear 2 to 14 days after exposure to the virus."

Harrison and Graham are set to face off again on Oct. 12 and Oct. 21. 

Several Republican lawmakers and officials have tested positive for coronavirus this week. Republican Sens. Thom TillisThomas (Thom) Roland TillisLate donor surges push election spending projections to new heights Pence seeks to lift GOP in battle for Senate Nearly 47 percent of all North Carolina registered voters have already cast their ballots MORE (N.C.) and Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold JohnsonOvernight Defense: Trump campaign's use of military helicopter raises ethics concerns | Air Force jets intercept aircraft over Trump rally | Senators introduce bill to expand visa screenings Senators introduce bipartisan bill to expand screening of foreign visitors Democrat announces 2022 bid for Ron Johnson's seat MORE (Wis.) both tested positive for COVID-19.

Washington was rocked early Friday morning after President TrumpDonald John TrumpHillary Clinton responds to Chrissy Teigen tweet: 'I love you back' Police called after Florida moms refuse to wear face masks at school board meeting about mask policy Supreme Court rejects Trump effort to shorten North Carolina mail-ballot deadline MORE announced that he and first lady Melania TrumpMelania TrumpThe Hill's Campaign Report: One week from Election Day | Biden looks to expand map | Trump trails narrowly in Florida, Arizona Melania Trump focuses on coronavirus in return to campaign trail Watch live: Melania Trump holds MAGA event MORE tested positive for the virus. The president on Friday was transported to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, where he is set to remain for several days.

--Updated on Oct. 4 at 11:41 a.m.