JAime Harrison, the Democratic nominee for the United States Senate in South Carolina, amassed a staggering $ 57m in the third quarter of 2020, a new record for a single Senate race in the southern states, and anywhere in America for in that matter.
But Harrison’s career is also gaining attention for many other reasons. His opponent is incumbent Lindsey Graham, a close ally of Donald Trump and vocal cheerleader for the president. In conservative South Carolina, Graham was meant to be an assurance to maintain his position, especially against a nationally unknown Black Democrat at a time when anti-racist protests were raging in America.
But 2020 is anything but a normal election year. Not only did Harrison set new records in raising money, but his poll drew him to an unexpected dispute in a state that saw nothing weak against Republicans. That alone will help Democrats win a Republican-controlled Senate victory that few have seen as likely a year ago and radically changed the direction of American politics.
Harrison’s candidacy proves historical and garnered major national attention. If he defeats Graham, South Carolina will be the first state to have two African American sitting senators. South Carolina senator Tim Scott is one of the few African American senators in the chamber, and the only Black Republican. Other states are representative of African Americans but not at the same time. There are 1,974 members of the US senate since its inception in 1789 – only 10 became Black.
South Carolina has emerged, surprisingly, as one of the best opportunities for Democrats to get the three or four seats needed to regain control of the Senate. Although there is intense interest in the race for the White House the fight to control the Senate will also have a huge impact on the shape of the next presidency.
If Trump is to win the presidency but lose control of Republicans in the Senate it severely limits the law he can pass. Similarly, if Biden wins the White House but the Democrats fail to win Senate control, it means that most of the new president’s legislative program is dead on arrival in Washington DC.
As Molly Reynolds, DC-based think tank Brookings recently said, “The presidential race has captured most of the recent election-related headlines. But a set of major Senate races are there will be significant consequences for the ability of former Vice President Joe Biden to lead if he defeats President Donald Trump. “
It wasn’t long ago that the prospects of Democrats who won control of the Senate seemed a bit silly. But the changing dynamics of the 2020 race have played the Senate.
The influx of campaign funding that eclipsed Republicans in South Carolina is also reflected elsewhere. Democratic candidates on diverse lists of states such as Maine, Montana, Colorado, Iowa and even the trusty red Kansas, have found themselves with healthy war chests in the last few weeks before election 3 November.
The 44-year-old South Carolina Democrat has been running in Democratic circles for many years. But it did not start that way. Harrison was born when his mother was 15. His father was his mother’s high school girlfriend and was not in the picture for most of his childhood. Her grandparents played a big role in raising her. Harrison grew up in Orangeburg, a town with thousands, and graduated from Yale University with a scholarship and law school at Georgetown University. Harrison was a teacher, served as chairman of the South Carolina Democratic party, an aide to South Carolina congressman Jim Clyburn, and later a lobbyist.
Harrison’s association with Clyburn was a blessing in South Carolina. Clyburn was the most influential African American Democrat in Congress and his endorsement was a critical point in helping revive Joe Biden’s presidential campaign during the Democratic primary. Clyburn showed careful anticipation of Harrison’s chances.
“I think things are ruining him. If we get the kind of turnout we work in South Carolina,” Clyburn said in an interview with Politico.
At first, South Carolina’s Senate race in 2020 seemed like a long shot for Democrats. Republicans control both Senate seats in the state for 15 years. But Graham’s close ties to Trump and, for others, with the late Arizona senator John McCain as well as his defense of Supreme Court justice Brett Kavanaugh during hearing justice is what Republicans and Democrats now associate with strong opposition to the senator. Graham is also Trump’s golf buddy.
“I think the reason we are here is primarily two. First, Democrats are only focused on controlling the Senate and pinning for power,” South Carolina Strategist Walter Whetsell said. which helps advise a Super Pac backout
Whetsell said “Democrats hate Lindsey Graham for what she did to Kavanaugh. They hate this person. They want revenge. They want revenge. And you combine these two things and it’s like smoking an explosive. It will explode, won’t it? ”
In an interview with the Guardian Harrison pointed out that Graham’s position was one that occupied some of the most vocal separations in American history. It would be a dramatic contrast for an African American to inherit it.
“The chair I am also fighting for is a place that has its own history. This is the seat of John C Calhoun, of Strom Thurmond, of a man called Ben Tillman who talks about lighting up black people in the US Senate. “
In his latest fundraising, Harrison will also show what a Democratic campaign in South Carolina can do. ganyan a large amount of money. Harrison said his campaign was planned to use the money to flood the zone with a full effort to win the seat for Democrats.
The latest Senate race polls show a low single-digit margin in between
Harrison and Graham. A New York Times / Siena College career poll published Thursday found Graham leading Harrison by six percentage points.
Harrison’s chances in South Carolina depend in part on whether enough Republicans decide not to vote for Graham, either by not voting or in favor of former Constitutional party candidate Bill Bledsoe, a conservative names will still appear on the ballots even if he stops and endorses Graham.
Harrison said his party’s success in competing with traditional conservative states was due to a change in the types of candidates nominated by Democrats.
“We are really competing. We are putting people who are not only Republican-lite but people who can reflect and motivate and stimulate the party base but appeal to the Independent of the state and moderate Republicans. That is part of it,” he said. Harrison said.
Harrison continued: “But I think part of the anchor we have is that the Democratic parties in the south are not the right resource so candidates like me and Stacey Abrams and Beto O’Rourke just don’t have to do the same. something that candidates usually do but we also need to do more party functioning[s] din. I am proud that my time as party leader we have spent time over the past few years rebuilding and reviving the party. But that does not take into account the years of lack of proper source of equipment. So you need to back it all up. “
There have also been demographic shifts, Harrison said, pointing to Americans leaving the “industrial mid-west” moving back to the south. Retired white, college-educated people also move to city centers in the state, which tends to be trustworthy Democrats.
“White, retired college students,” Harrison said. “They gather in places like Greenville and Charleston, South Carolina. And it also brings them more moderate politics. So it gives us the ability to compete.”
Harrison, when asked what he thought about South Carolina’s aspiration to be the first state with two sitting black senators who said “It is appropriate.”
“It’s about showing the progress that has been made in this country and there has been a lot of progress. I’m saying that in the field – it ‘s about closing the book in the south and writing a new book in the new south,” said Harrison.
He went into the framework of that vision. “One that is bold and inclusive and diverse. It deserves. When you think about the history of this country the first black senators came from the south. So why not the first state to take two African American senators from America south? “he said. “It means a lot to me. I feel good that we can get it and make history.”