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

Andrew Harnik/AP

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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.

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And the truth is, going into the final 4 days of the year we still needed to raise $TK to hit our $350,000 goal and start 2021 on track. It's nerve-wracking, wondering if the big spike we normally see at the end of December is going to be another thing that doesn't go as planned in 2020, or worse, if, now that Donald Trump is set to leave the White House (for longer than a taxpayer-funded golf trip to a property he owns), folks might be pulling back from fighting for the truth and a democracy and think the hard work is done.

It's not, and if you can right now, please consider a year-end donation to support our team's fearless nonprofit journalism so we can close that big fundraising gap and finish the year strong, ready for all that's ahead in 2021. Whether you can give $5 or $500, it all matters in keeping us charging hard, and we'd be grateful.

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THE TRUTH IS...

what drives Mother Jones' team of 50-plus journalists. The truth is powerful, as evidenced by how hard those with something to hide, or profit to gain, seek to discredit it. The truth, stated boldly and reported meticulously, is what draws so many readers to Mother Jones.

And the truth is, going into the final 4 days of the year we still needed to raise $TK to hit our $350,000 goal and start 2021 on track. It's nerve-wracking, wondering if the big spike we normally see at the end of December is going to be another thing that doesn't go as planned in 2020, or worse, if, now that Donald Trump is set to leave the White House (for longer than a taxpayer-funded golf trip to a property he owns), folks might be pulling back from fighting for the truth and a democracy and think the hard work is done.

It's not, and if you can right now, please consider a year-end donation to support our team's fearless nonprofit journalism so we can close that big fundraising gap and finish the year strong, ready for all that's ahead in 2021. Whether you can give $5 or $500, it all matters in keeping us charging hard, and we'd be grateful.

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