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 GrahamHouse conservatives take aim at Schumer-led bipartisan China bill There will be no new immigration law under Biden, unless he changes course McConnell safe in power, despite Trump's wrath 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 LeeGOP governor says Republican Party has to allow for differences Republicans urge probe into Amazon government cloud-computing bid: report Allowing a racist slur against Tim Scott to trend confirms social media's activist bias 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 TillisSenate hears from Biden's high-profile judicial nominees for first time Senate Democrats take aim at 'true lender' interest rate rule Former North Carolina chief justice launches Senate campaign MORE (N.C.) and Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold JohnsonSunday shows preview: Coronavirus dominates as White House continues to push vaccination effort Overnight Health Care: WHO-backed Covax gets a boost from Moderna Vaccine hesitancy among lawmakers slows return to normalcy on Capitol Hill MORE (Wis.) both tested positive for COVID-19.

Washington was rocked early Friday morning after President TrumpDonald TrumpCaitlyn Jenner says election was not 'stolen,' calls Biden 'our president' Overnight Health Care: FDA authorizes Pfizer vaccine for adolescents | Biden administration reverses limits on LGBTQ health protections Overnight Defense: US fires 30 warning shots at Iranian boats | Kabul attack heightens fears of Afghan women's fates | Democratic Party leaders push Biden on rejoining Iran deal MORE announced that he and first lady Melania TrumpMelania TrumpJill Biden a key figure in push to pitch White House plans Petition calls for Jill Biden to undo Trump-era changes to White House Rose Garden Fox News's Bret Baier posts vaccination selfie 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.