South Carolina Senate Race Between Lindsey Graham, Jaime Harrison Now a Toss-Up

October 8, 2020by Joseph Bustos, The State (Columbia, S.C.) (TNS)
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) attends a press conference announcing Senate Republicans' opposition to D.C. statehood on Capitol Hill on July 1, 2020 in Washington, D.C. (Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images/TNS)

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Days before the second debate between Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham and his Democratic challenger Jaime Harrison on Friday, one political prognosticator has shifted the race to a toss-up.

The ratings change away from “Lean Republican,” from the Cook Political Report, comes less than a month before the election.

“There has been no more surprising race on the Senate map than South Carolina,” wrote Jessica Taylor, the Senate and Governors editor for the Cook Political Report, citing the enormous amount of cash flowing into the race to influence voters.

Saturday evening, during the first hourlong debate, Harrison’s campaign touted raising $125,000 during the broadcast. The amount ballooned to $1.1 million by Sunday, his campaign said.

In Cook’s rating, the publication notes Harrison and allies have spent $68 million trying to flip the seat blue. Graham and his allies have spent $37 million defending the seat.

Those amounts include ad buys by Republican and Democratic super PACs, and other outside groups.

Both Graham and Harrison are regulars on the cable news networks with now both of them plugging their websites to solicit contributions to their campaigns.

In its analysis, the Cook Political report also notes the latest Quinnipiac Poll, which has the race tied at 48% and shows Harrison with a higher favorable rating than Graham. That poll is not an anomaly — three of the six polls since September have shown Harrison within one point of Graham, and two of them show him tied. One poll conducted by Cornell Belcher even had Harrison leading by two points.

Political forecaster FiveThirtyEight still gives Graham a 76% chance at winning the election. Sabato’s Crystal Ball has the race as “Leans Republican” calling Graham the favorite.

Quinnipiac also shows President Donald Trump with a one-point lead over former Vice President Joe Biden in South Carolina, a reliably Republican state.

“Ultimately, this race has earned a more competitive rating — underscoring just how fast the GOP (Senate) majority is slipping away if they have to defend turf like this, and also how much Trump’s numbers have fallen across the board,” Taylor wrote.

———

©2020 The State (Columbia, S.C.)

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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