Jaime Harrison Just Outraised Lindsey Graham. That’s Good News For Him—He’s Gonna Need That $$$.

Andrew Harnik/AP

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.

There’s big news out of South Carolina: Jaime Harrison, the Democrat running to unseat Sen. Lindsey Graham, outraised his opponent during the first quarter of 2020.

Harrison’s campaign announced late Wednesday that he’d raised more than $7.3 million from January through March of 2020; Graham, meanwhile, took in only $5.6 million. This is the first time that Harrison has put up higher fundraising numbers than his GOP opponent, though Graham still has roughly $4.8 million more than Harrison on hand.

Harrison, a longtime Democratic operative close to South Carolina power broker Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.), is the first credible challenger to the three-term Graham in some time. As I wrote in my profile of Harrison earlier this year, he’s premised his campaign on a return to decency and the excoriation of Graham, who spent the last four years transforming from a Never Trumper to a loyal Trump devotee. While Harrison was recognizable in Democratic circles after his years as state party chair and a run at DNC national chair in 2017, he was a relative unknown among most South Carolinians when he announced his candidacy last year. Clay Middleton, a fellow South Carolina DNC official close to Harrison, said Harrison’s would need to become a “household name—or at least a name someone would recognize” if he were to have a shot at unseating Graham in a state the president won by 14 points in 2016.

This money will be crucial to furthering that goal. Last November, Harrison told me intended to heed advice Stacey Abrams, the former Georgia gubernatorial candidate who nearly won her 2018 race, gave him: “Jaime, you gotta go everywhere.” Now, Harrison cannot go “everywhere”—or really, anywhere thanks to the pandemic, and will rely on media tools at his disposal to introduce himself to voters in the Palmetto State. This month, the Democrat launched a seven-figure television, radio, and digital advertising blitz focused on highlighting, in the words of his campaign, “the need for strong, measured leadership for South Carolina during the coronavirus pandemic.”

It’s hard to say whether the money momentum will last. As a longtime Democratic operative and South Carolina DNC member, Harrison benefited from the ample national airtime and press coverage he received alongside the state’s Democratic primary at the end of February. But if the GOP wears any of the blame for Trump’s bungled pandemic response, perhaps Harrison’s good fortunes will continue.

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate