There’s something poetic and inevitable about Jaime Harrison’s galloping challenge to longtime South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey O. Graham.
A youthful 44, he’s an African American graduate of Yale and Georgetown University Law Center — a husband and father who has everything going for him, including an up-from-nothing story. He grew up in a trailer and is running for the U.S. Senate. “Only in America,” as he puts it.
Thanks to record-breaking fundraising to the tune of $57 million in the third quarter alone, Harrison has become a serious challenger to the incumbent. Although the most recent major poll has Graham about six points ahead, the race has polled dead-even at times. In a state that rarely changes horses — Sen. Strom Thurmond served 48 years in the U.S. Senate — Harrison’s sudden surge from a relative unknown to the man who could bring down the three-term Graham is the stuff of legend.
The stakes couldn’t be higher. South Carolina is one of seven supposed toss-up states in the fight for Senate control. If Joe Biden wins the presidency and the Senate turns blue while Democrats retain a majority in the House, a hard-left trifecta would be unstoppable. Here’s just one stake: If the Senate remains a Republican majority, Graham is next in line to become chair of the Budget Committee; if things go blue, Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, a self-declared democratic socialist, will hold the gavel.