The upset of 2020? Jaime Harrison push to oust Lindsey Graham central to US Senate battle

The upset of 2020? Jaime Harrison push to oust Lindsey Graham central to US Senate battle

The race for the White House is gaining most attention, but a remarkable Senate race in South Carolina could be historic

Jaime Harrison, the Democratic nominee for the US Senate in South Carolina, has raised a staggering $57m in the third quarter of 2020, a new record for a single Senate race in the southern state, and anywhere else in America for that matter.

But Harrison’s race is also winning attention for a host of other reasons. His opponent is incumbent Lindsey Graham, a close Donald Trump ally and vocal cheerleader for the president. In conservative South Carolina, Graham was meant to be a certainty to retain his seat, especially against a nationally little-known Black Democrat at a time when anti-racism protests have roiled America.

But 2020 is anything but a normal election year. Not only has Harrison set new money-raising records, but his polling has hauled him into unexpected contention in a state no one saw as vulnerable for the Republicans. That in itself could help Democrats win a victory in the Republican-controlled Senate that few saw as likely even a year ago and radically alter the direction of America’s politics.

Harrison’s candidacy is proving historic and has caught major national attention. If he beats Graham, South Carolina would become the first state with two sitting African American senators ever. The South Carolina senator Tim Scott is one of the few African American senators in the chamber, and the only Black Republican. Other states have been represented by African Americans but never at the same time. There have been 1,974 members of the US senate since it was established in 1789 – only 10 have been Black.