Jaime Harrison’s Got a Real Shot in South Carolina

Challenging a well-known incumbent Republican senator in a red state is always a long shot. But challenger Jaime Harrison is giving Lindsay Graham a run for his money.

New Quinnipiac polling has Harrison even with Graham with just six weeks until Election Day. After trailing Graham for weeks, the news spurred a massive donation bump for Harrison. Within two hours of the Quinnipiac poll, his campaign had raised $175,000; a few hours later, they were up to $500,000; and early Thursday, the campaign said that it had raised more than $1 million in 24 hours.

Graham, clearly shaken by Harrison running a real campaign that could possibly oust him, is turning desperate. The Senator released his tax returns and “mocked” Harrison for not releasing his—slightly ironic, considering Graham never pressured President Donald Trump to do the same and has consistently appeared as Trump’s personal lap dog. The joke wound up being on Graham, though: Harrison released his returns yesterday and tossed in a little Trump-related comeback to rub it in.

News like this Quinnipiac Poll can fundamentally change a race. Liberals across the country have proven eager to donate en masse to defeat a well-known, widely-despised GOP senator. That’s how Amy McGrath was able to procure such an enormous fundraising haul for her challenge of Mitch McConnell in Kentucky (even though she struggled to win the Dem primary). With McGrath now trailing by double digits, though, Harrison could slot in as the Democratic Senate candidate du jour, aiming to knock one of the slimiest Republicans out of Congress. Harrison always had a shot, but his odds look better than ever.

Graham will certainly have his say about all this in the weeks to come. His desperation tax return stunt just showed how truly distressed he is by the challenge, and his general spinelessness means he’d probably do just about anything to win. Plus, Graham’s got Republican mega-donors on his side ready to open the floodgates over the next 47 days. But $1 million in a single day is a decent way to counter that. In Harrison’s case, at least for now, a tie is as good as taking the lead.