Sen. Lindsey Graham is in for a tougher fight than he expected in the race for his South Carolina Senate seat as Democratic challenger Jamie Harrison has outraised him.
According to CNN, Harrison’s campaign brought in a total of $7.2 million in the first three months of 2020, while Graham brought in nearly $5.6 million. Harrison’s fundraising shows the high-profile nature of the race. Harrison, the former chairman of the state’s Democratic Party has received early support from prominent party leaders, including presidential candidate Joe Biden.
“We’re so grateful for this outpouring of support from everyday people who are looking for leadership that puts them first,” Guy King, communications director for the Harrison campaign, told CNN.
Harrison still has a lot of work to do and the odds are still against him. Graham, a three-term senator, is close with President Donald Trump, and the Cook Political Report rates the race as “solid” Republican.
Additionally, although Harrison’s numbers for the first quarter outpace Graham’s, the senator has raised more since the beginning of the cycle, raising $6 million more than Harrison. Graham’s campaign also has more than $4.8 million more cash on hand than Harrison.
Graham’s campaign blamed the lower total on the senator being forced to cancel fundraising events do to the coronavirus.
“It’s truly humbling to see the tremendous support and momentum continue to grow for Senator Graham,” said campaign manager Scott Farmer in a press release. “Even after canceling numerous events and suspending our fundraising efforts for part of the quarter, Senator Graham still shattered personal and state fundraising records.”
Graham, a staunch champion of the right, ran for president in 2016 but dropped out in late 2015.
Harrison joins a growing list of Democratic challengers in U.S. Senate races who have outraised their Republican opponents. Democratic challengers have quickly adapted to using social media to their benefit in a time when most of the country is stuck at home.
Graham has recently been in the news for opposing the widespread student loan forgiveness Democrats have been pushing for during the coronavirus outbreak.
“Democrats are trying to reduce student loans by $10,000. What the hell has that got to do with the virus?” Graham (R-S.C.) told Fox News. “I’m sure everybody could use more money, but I don’t want to give money to people who have a paycheck. I want to give money to people who have lost their jobs.”