South Carolina's Close Senate Race: Graham vs. Harrison

As the 2020 November election comes closer and closer, South Carolina’s Senate election is showing just how close it will be. The most recent poll released shows political opponents Republican Lindsey Graham and Democratic Jaime Harrison tied in the 2020 election for South Carolina Senate. Lindsey Graham has been a senator of South Carolina since he was elected in 2002, so this challenge to his reelection campaign is huge and unexpected. Is it deserved?

Let’s See What Graham Has Done in His Time

According to Graham’s website, his key issues are: Appropriations, Energy Dependence, Fiscal Responsibility, Immigration, Issues Across the Palmetto State, Protecting Our Nation, Stopping the Government Takeover of Health Care, and Upholding the Constitution. 

Here is his voting history on important issues, according to On The Issues

Abortion & Unwanted Pregnancy:

  • Voted YES on prohibiting minors crossing state lines for abortion. (March 2008)

  • Voted NO on $100M to reduce teen pregnancy by education & contraceptives. (March 2005)

Civil Rights: 

  • Voted NO on reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act. (February 2013)

  • Voted YES on constitutional ban of same-sex marriage. (June 2006)

  • Rated 0% by the ACLU, indicating an anti-civil rights voting record. (Dec 2002)

  • Rated 0% by the HRC, indicating an anti-gay-rights stance. (Dec 2006)

  • Rated 11% by the NAACP, indicating an anti-affirmative-action stance. (Dec 2006)

Crime:

  • Voted NO on funding for alternative sentencing instead of more prisons. (June 2000)

  • Rated 55% by the NAPO, indicating a moderate stance on police issues. (Dec 2014)

  • Rated 30% by CURE, indicating anti-rehabilitation crime votes. (Dec 2000)

Education:

  • Voted NO on additional $10.2B for federal education & HHS projects. (October 2007)

  • Voted NO on $52M for "21st century community learning centers." (October 2005)

  • Voted NO on shifting $11B from corporate tax loopholes to education. (March 2005)

  • Voted YES on allowing school prayer during the War on Terror. (November 2001)

  • Voted YES on requiring states to test students. (May 2001)

Energy & Oil:

  • Voted YES on barring EPA from regulating greenhouse gases. (Apr 2011)

  • Voted YES on protecting middle-income taxpayers from a national energy tax. (Apr 2009)

  • Voted NO on tax incentives for energy production and conservation. (Jun 2008

Environment:

  • Voted YES on protecting ocean, coastal, and Great Lakes ecosystems. (May 2013)

Government Reform:

  • Voted NO on granting the District of Columbia a seat in Congress. (September 2007)

  • Voted YES on requiring photo ID to vote in federal elections. (July 2007)

  • Voted YES on allowing some lobbyist gifts to Congress. (March 2006)

Gun Control:

  • Voted NO on banning high-capacity magazines of over 10 bullets. (Apr 2013)

  • Voted YES on allowing firearms in checked baggage on Amtrak trains. (Apr 2009)

Immigration:

  • Voted YES on building a fence along the Mexican border. (September 2006)

  • Voted YES on establishing a Guest Worker program. (May 2006)

  • Voted YES on allowing illegal immigrants to participate in Social Security. (May 2006)

  • Voted NO on continuing federal funds for declared "sanctuary cities." (March 2008)

Outside of his voting history, Graham has received criticism for his shift from being anti-Trump to pro-Trump before and after the 2016 election. In addition, many critics disapprove of his support of the Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. Meanwhile, supporters of Graham often support him for these same reasons.

Graham has gained increasing criticism, however, after the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. After Ginsburg’s passing, Graham immediately moved to support Trump in filling the Supreme Court vacancy although he has stated in the past that a Supreme Court seat should not be filled during an election year. It is not clear how this will affect him in the polls since it has happened so recently. However, it is a risky move being that he is currently tied with Jaime Harrison. 

Who is Jaime Harrison?

Jaime Harrison is the new face on the scene running a strong campaign to defeat Senator Graham. Having tied polls with a Republican incumbent as a Democratic runner in a deep red state is not easy to do. Does he deserve it?

According to his website, Jaime Harrison’s priorities are: Healthcare, Growing the Middle Class, Protecting Seniors, Ending Poverty, Education for the 21st Century, Defending Democracy, Child Care & Family Leave, Environment, National Security, Standing Up for Veterans, Rebuilding South Carolina’s Infrastructure, Criminal Justice Reform, and a Rural Hope Agenda. 

Here are his stances, according to On The Issues:

Abortion:

  • Harrison is said to be an "outspoken champion of reproductive freedom." (November 2019)

Budget & Economy: 

  • Pushes for aggressive infrastructure investment. (December 2019)

Civil Rights:

  • HRC: Harrison is among the strongest advocates for LGBTQ equality. (January 2020)

  • Encourages voter drives among unregistered African Americans. (December 2019)

  • Opposes voters having to provide Social Security numbers. (November 2019)

Crime: 

  • He wants to be done with racial profiling, bias, and over-policing. (June 2020)

Education:

  • He believes that we are losing a whole generation of teachers because of low pay. (May 2020)

  • He wants to invest in public schools and end the student loan crisis. (December 2019)

Jaime Harrison has repeatedly fund raised amounts well over Graham’s campaign and has steadily climbed up to being tied in the polls with less than two months until the November election. This election could be a defining moment for whether South Carolina remains a deep red state. 

Lindsey Graham continues losing votes from those not supportive of Trump, as he fought against the impeachment and for Brett Kavanaugh. Meanwhile, many fierce Trump supporters are frustrated with Graham’s leadership as he denounced Trump during the 2016 primary calling him a "race-baiting, xenophobic bigot." Many Trump supporters also do not appreciate his willingness to work with Democrats on an immigration policy.  

In this close tie, no one will know the final answer until after the ballots have been counted. Please be educated on the candidates, then get out and vote!