Another Democrat is throwing his hat into the ring to challenge Republican Lindsey Graham for his South Carolina Senate seat. Jaime Harrison, the former chairman of the state’s Democratic Party, announced his bid Wednesday in a video shared on Twitter.
“Lindsey Graham can’t lead us in any direction because he traded his moral compass for petty political gain,” Harrison said in the video. “He’s forgotten about the people he represents: you. I want to move us ― all of us ― in the right direction.”
“I remember a time when senators helped the people they represent,” he continued. “I want to bring the spirit of helping back. And that’s why I am running for the United States Senate.”
I may not be a superhero, but I am a proud South Carolinian, and I'm ready to fight for a better future for our state and our country. I hope you are, too. Find out how you can #JoinJaime and get involved: https://t.co/2jIqtqbKAB pic.twitter.com/zTjktJ1RpA
— Jaime Harrison (@harrisonjaime) May 29, 2019
Harrison, now the associate chair of the Democratic National Committee, appeared on MSNBC on Tuesday night to tease the formal announcement of his Senate run.
Speaking to host Rachel Maddow, Harrison lambasted Graham as a political “chameleon” who has “changed his colors” to pander to the whims of President Donald Trump.
Graham’s behavior during the Trump era “makes you question his character,” Harrison said. “I used to think this was a guy who was a statesman, a guy who could stand above the fray and help solve the issues. But I’ve seen that he’s what [political commentator] George Will called ‘a political windsock.’”
BREAKING: Jaime Harrison to make formal announcement of candidacy for Senate Wednesday morning. Harrison will challenge Lindsey Graham to represent South Carolina. pic.twitter.com/tC581MMOYd
— Maddow Blog (@MaddowBlog) May 29, 2019
Harrison is the second Democrat to announce a bid to topple Graham from his senatorial post, which he’s held since 2003.
Gloria Bromell Tinubu, an economist who grew up in South Carolina but started her political career in neighboring Georgia, said last month that she would be challenging Graham’s seat.
Tinubu, who served on the Atlanta City Council and is a former member of the Georgia State Assembly, hasn’t had much luck to date in the South Carolina political scene. She’s run ― and lost ― twice against Republican Rep. Tom Rice for South Carolina’s 7th congressional district seat.
She was also the running mate for businessman Phil Noble in his bid last year for governor. Noble clinched just 10% of the vote in the Democratic gubernatorial primary.
Any Democrat should expect to face a challenging battle against Graham, who has strong support in a state that hasn’t elected a Democrat to the Senate since 1998. As The Post and Courier reported in April, Graham also boasts one of the country’s largest campaign war chests ― with more than $4 million available for his 2020 reelection.
Still, Harrison said the political winds appear to be shifting in historically red states. He said he hopes South Carolinians will support him in riding this wave of change.
“We’re on the verge of a renaissance in the South, a new South,” Harrison said, citing Democrat Joe Cunningham’s successful flip last year of South Carolina’s 1st Congressional District, among other examples. “I really hope people will help join me in this effort.”
This story has been updated with the announcement.