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 GrahamSenators spar over validity of Trump impeachment trial Trump selects South Carolina lawyer for impeachment trial Democrats formally elect Harrison as new DNC chair 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 LeeOvernight Defense: Austin takes helm at Pentagon | COVID-19 briefing part of Day 1 agenda | Outrage over images of National Guard troops in parking garage Austin sworn in as nation's first Black Pentagon chief The Hill's 12:30 Report: Next steps in the Trump impeachment 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 TillisSenators introduce bill to award Officer Goodman the Congressional Gold Medal Schumer becomes new Senate majority leader Democrats see Georgia as model for success across South MORE (N.C.) and Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold JohnsonGOP senators call for commission to investigate Capitol attack Wisconsin Democrats make ad buy calling on Johnson to resign Efforts to secure elections likely to gain ground in Democrat-controlled Congress MORE (Wis.) both tested positive for COVID-19.

Washington was rocked early Friday morning after President TrumpDonald TrumpSchumer: Impeachment trial will be quick, doesn't need a lot of witnesses Nurse to be tapped by Biden as acting surgeon general: report Schumer calls for Biden to declare climate emergency MORE announced that he and first lady Melania TrumpMelania TrumpScorned and mistreated, Melania Trump deserved much better from the media The Hill's Morning Report - Biden takes office, calls for end to 'uncivil war' K Street navigates virtual inauguration week 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.