Lindsey Graham's Democratic Challenger Rakes In $57 Million, Shattering Fundraising Record

Jaime Harrison smashed the previous record for a Senate candidate, set by Beto O'Rourke in 2018.

Jaime Harrison, the Democratic nominee in South Carolina seeking to unseat Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, raised $57 million in the third quarter of this year, crushing the previous fundraising record for a Senate candidate, Harrison’s campaign announced Sunday.

Harrison’s colossal haul toppled the previous record set by then-Rep. Beto O’Rourke, a Democrat, in the third quarter of 2018 during his face-off against Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas. O’Rourke had raked in $38.1 million in July through September of that year.

Graham, a three-term incumbent, has not yet announced his third-quarter fundraising numbers. He raised $8.4 million in the second quarter while Harrison took in nearly $14 million in donations during that same time period.

Last month, Graham begged Fox News viewers to donate to his campaign, bemoaning that he was “being killed financially” by Harrison.

“This money is because they hate my guts,” Graham said during an appearance on “Fox & Friends” on Sept. 24.

“Help me,” Graham told viewers a few hours later during an interview with Fox News prime-time host Sean Hannity. “They’re killing me moneywise. Help me. You did last week. Help me again.”

The death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has heightened the stakes in Graham’s reelection campaign. Graham, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, has come under fire following Ginsburg’s death for his flip-flopping stance on whether a Supreme Court vacancy should be filled during a presidential election year.

Graham is seeking to swiftly push through the Senate confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett, President Donald Trump’s nominee to replace Ginsburg. But in 2016, Graham backed a controversial decision by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to block confirmation hearings for Merrick Garland, then-President Barack Obama’s pick to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia.

McConnell, Graham and other Republicans had said at the time that Garland’s confirmation hearings would have been too close to the 2016 election and that whoever won the election should pick the Supreme Court nominee.

Scalia died 269 days before the 2016 presidential election. Ginsburg died 46 days before the 2020 presidential election. What’s more, early voting had already begun in some states for this year’s election.

Graham claimed last month that Harrison, who served as the chair of the South Carolina Democratic Party from 2013 to 2017, took in $6 million in the 72 hours after Ginsburg’s death. Harrison’s campaign hasn’t yet disclosed how much money he raised in that time period.

Recent polling shows Graham and Harrison in a virtual tie. Each candidate received 48% of the vote in a Quinnipiac poll conducted last month.

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