Lindsey Graham's Democratic challenger just broke a fundraising record - looking to oust the senator
Jaime Harrison, a Democratic candidate looking to oust Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), raised more than $3.5 million in the last three months of 2019, the State reported on Monday.
Harrison's haul is the most a Democratic challenger has ever raised in South Carolina history.
Harrison topped his previous fundraising totals from earlier in 2019, heading in to 2020 with $4.6 million in the bank.
Graham has not released his fundraising total from the end of 2019, but brought in just $3.3 million in the third quarter of the year, according to the State.
"Sen. Graham thinks he will ease his way to reelection, but he's about to face his greatest challenger and that is Jaime Harrison," Guy King, a Harrison campaign spokesman, told the State.
A mid-December poll showed Graham with a narrow 2-point lead over Harrison, a potentially worrying sign in a state Donald Trump carried by 14 points in 2016.
"Senator Lindsey Graham's favorability is exceptionally low among Independent voters," the poll noted at the time, adding Graham "looks extremely vulnerable against Democratic contender Jaime Harrison."
Like Harrison, other Democratic candidates in GOP-leaning states are raising an eye-popping amount of cash to take on Republican incumbents.
In Iowa, Theresa Greenfield raised more than $1.6 million in her effort to oust Sen. Joni Ernst. Ernst did not release her fundraising totals for the end of the year, but Greenfield outraised her in the previous quarter by more than $150,000.
In Kentucky, Amy McGrath raised $6.2 million in an effort to replace Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, after raising more than $10 million the previous quarter.
In Georgia, Democrat Jon Ossoff raised more than $1 million in the last three months of 2019 in his challenge to replace Republican Sen. David Perdue. Other candidates in that race have not released their fundraising totals.
Also in Georgia, Matt Lieberman, son of former Sen. Joe Lieberman (D-CT), raised $700,000 in his campaign to fill the seat of the retired Sen. Johnny Isakson. In December, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp selected Republican donor Kelly Loeffler to represent the state until the November election.
The fundraising numbers were released the same week that the progressive fundraising platform ActBlue announced more than $1 billion in campaign contributions in 2019 for Democratic candidates and causes.
Republicans currently hold a narrow 53-47 majority in the Senate, meaning Democrats need to flip three seats and win the White House to gain a majority, or flip four seats outright to guarantee a majority.
In early November, before the latest South Carolina poll and fundraising numbers were released, the Cook Political Report listed Arizona, Colorado, Maine, and North Carolina as the most likely pick-up opportunities.
Among Democratic incumbents, Alabama's Sen. Doug Jones is the most vulnerable, with Cook Political Report labeling the race a toss-up.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation. Attribution: Dan Desai Martin.