Although he raised more money than any other Senate candidate in the 2020 election cycle, Jaime Harrison increased the Democratic vote against Republican incumbent Lindsey Graham by only 5 percentage points.
Graham won the race in the Senate of South Carolina with 54.5 percent of the vote, according to the New York Times. Harrison received 44.2 percent of the vote – about 5 percentage points more than Democrat Brad Hutto in 2014 when he failed against Graham.
Six years ago, Hutto received 38.9 percent of the vote, compared with 54.4 percent of Graham’s vote. Hutto had raised and spent just over $520,000 in this contest, far less than both candidates in 2020.
Harrison collected more than $107 million in this cycle and spent more than $104 million to oust Graham from his seat, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Graham raised $72 million and spent $60 million on the race.
Money also flowed into South Carolina from both sides of the aisle as polls conducted in the weeks leading up to election day showed a close race. The GOP-aligned Senate Leadership Fund spent nearly $16 million in the state. It was also reported that the PAC of the Democratic Senate majority spent at least $6 million on an advertising flash in late September.
But Harrison’s campaign has always faced a difficult struggle. South Carolina is a deep red state that has not elected a Democrat to the Senate since 1998. This year, the state supported President Donald Trump’s efforts for re-election with 55 to 43 percent.
Harrison’s campaign manager, Zack Carroll, said the race is only the beginning of the Democrats’ success in the state.
“We’ve laid the groundwork to begin changing the state,” Carroll told Washington Newsday. “It’s a slow process, and the work our campaign has done has had a lasting impact here, making South Carolina a potential battleground state. But there is much more work to be done. South Carolina needs a continuation of the work Jaime did that led to over 1.1 million South Carolinians voting democratically. This is only the beginning, and each electoral cycle will come closer to victory and put the palmetto state on the map.
Harrison also expressed optimism after the call to the race. In his concession speech he told the crowd: “Well, folks, I’m still breathing and I still have hope.
The Democrat added: “We have proven that a new South is on the rise. Tonight we have only slowed down. But a new South with leaders who reflect the community and serve the interests of all will be here soon enough.
In his victory speech, Graham praised Harrison for his campaign, but did not mince his words in front of the pollsters who predicted he might lose his seat and the donors who threw money into the race.
“All those liberals in California in New York, you wasted a lot of money,” he said. “This is the worst return on investment in the history of American politics.”
Washington Newsday asked the Graham campaign for a comment, but received no response before the publication….