Jaime Harrison, the Democratic nominee challenging U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham in South Carolina, was projected to fall short in his historic bid to replace an incumbent who was largely seen as vulnerable. The Associated Press projected Graham’s win with fewer than half of the precincts reporting in what was a much less competitive race than expected.
Harrison and Graham came into Election Day having spent a collective $200 million on the contentious race that saw the Democrat significantly out-fundraising the incumbent.
Graham’s flip-flopping support for Donald Trump had been a focal part of the campaign. Harrison has out-fundraised Graham, who’s held that Senate seat since 2003. Graham is also the chairman of the same Senate Judiciary Committee that voted to confirm Barrett to the Supreme Court just four years after he said he was against confirming Supreme Court justices in an election year.
The race came down to the wire, with the most recent poll showing Graham clinging to a lead of less than 2 percentage points in a survey with a margin of error that is just 3 percentage points.
Harrison is a former lobbyist raised in Orangeburg, South Carolina and attended Yale University. He set a Senate fundraising record with $57 million in the final full quarter of the campaign season.
“This campaign is making history, because we’re focused on restoring hope back to South Carolina,” Guy King, a spokesman for Harrison’s campaign, said in a statement released earlier this month. “While Lindsey Graham continues playing political games in Washington, Jaime Harrison is remaining laser-focused on the real issues impacting people here — like healthcare, broadband access, and COVID relief for businesses and families.”
Graham was one of the handful of Republicans who spoke out against Donald Trump‘s presidential candidacy four years ago before reversing course and repeatedly praising the president after his election in 2016. That year was also when Graham openly opposed confirming then-President Barack Obama‘s U.S. Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland because it was an election year. Four years later, Graham — who is the chairman of the powerful Senate Judiciary Committee — also reversed his stance on that topic and embraced rushing the confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett following the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
Graham won his re-election bid Tuesday night despite the heightened attention to his high-profile changes of heart that were inspired by his political motivations.
This is a breaking news story that will be updated as additional information becomes available.