[embed-2] Former South Carolina Democratic Party leader Jaime Harrison made his campaign against U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham official on Wednesday.
Harrison could turn out to be the most-formidable to challenge Graham in his 25-year political career (reality TV star Thomas Ravenel’s single-digit third party challenge in 2014 notwithstanding, of course).
[content-3] The presidential election year race will certainly introduce some interesting external forces into the race, regardless of who would have stepped up against Graham. Of course, turnout will be higher across the state as people head to vote in the presidential election. The match-up will also be the first time S.C. voters will weigh in on Graham since he’s cozied up tight to President Donald Trump.
In his last re-election in 2014, Graham won with 54 percent of the vote, comfortably defeating Democratic state Sen. Brad Hutto, who earned 39 percent.
Leveraging Graham’s national exposure as one of Trump’s most vocal supporters, Harrison has already made a splash with his entry into the race. Months ago, Harrison appeared on a Charleston stop of Pod Save America, a podcast hosted by Obama administration veterans, teasing an “exploratory committee.” Harrison stopped on Rachel Maddow’s MSNBC set on Tuesday night to announce his entry. And The New York Times ran an extended Q&A, asking “Can Jaime Harrison End the Democrats’ Drought in South Carolina?”
Harrison grew up poor in Orangeburg, S.C., but navigated his way through high school and earned a scholarship to Yale University, then attended law school at Georgetown University. Since school, Harrison has spent much of his career in politics working in Congressman Jim Clyburn’s office and with the Podesta Group, a blue chip D.C. lobbying firm founded by Clinton loyalist John Podesta.
Harrison has also served as chairman of the South Carolina Democratic Party and then went on to mount an unsuccessful run to lead the national Democratic Party. He’s served as an associate chair role with the DNC since 2017.
[content-1] Former Georgia politician and past statewide S.C. candidate Gloria Bromell Tinubu has also said that she’ll seek the Democratic nomination to challenge Graham.