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Democratic challenger to Graham raises $2.1 million in third quarter

Democrat Jaime Harrison raised more than $2.1 million for his challenge to Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) in the third fundraising quarter, a staggering haul for a first-time Senate candidate more than a year out from the 2020 election.

Harrison’s campaign said that he ended the quarter with more than $2.6 million in the bank, nearly twice as much as he had on hand at the end of June. The average contribution size in the third quarter was just $24, his campaign said.

“Our campaign is growing and powered by grassroots supporters across South Carolina and the nation,” Harrison said. 

“I am fighting to ensure that every South Carolinian has access to affordable health care, good paying jobs and student loan debt relief. This campaign is about bringing hope back into the lives of the people of the Palmetto State and bringing a spirit of public service back to the Senate.”

Harrison’s third-quarter fundraising haul is substantial for a non-incumbent Senate candidate more than 13 months out from Election Day. It’s the largest quarterly total raised by a Democratic Senate challenger in South Carolina in history, his campaign said.

To be sure, Graham’s reelection effort is also well funded. He hasn’t released his third-quarter fundraising total yet, but he brought in more than $3 million in the second quarter of the year and had more than $6.4 million on hand at the end of June.

South Carolina also remains a deeply Republican state. President Trump carried it by more than 14 points in 2016 and The Cook Political Report, a nonpartisan election handicapper, puts Graham’s Senate seat in the “solid” Republican column. 

Still, Democrats insist that the race is competitive. A recent poll commissioned by Collective PAC, a group supporting African American candidates, and conducted by the liberal-leaning Change Research showed Harrison trailing Graham by just 7 points — a relatively small margin considering Graham’s high name recognition and decades-long career in Washington.

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