Kamala Harris backs Harrison’s quest to unseat Graham in SC

Politics
Jaime Harrison

In this Monday, Feb. 24, 2020 photo, Democratic Senate candidate Jaime Harrison, who is challenging U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., speaks at a South Carolina Democratic Party dinner in Charleston, S.C. (AP Photo/Meg Kinnard)

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — In his campaign against U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, Democrat Jaime Harrison is picking up the support of a former 2020 presidential hopeful, one he hopes will ultimately be his colleague in Congress.

In a statement to The Associated Press, U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris on Monday called Harrison an “advocate for the people” whose senatorial campaign she’s officially backing.

“He believes every South Carolinian deserves the opportunity to not just get by, but to thrive and succeed,” Harris said, of Harrison. “I am confident he will continue to fight for South Carolinians in the Senate. I am proud to endorse Jaime Harrison for U.S. Senate.”

Harris has previously voiced support for Harrison’s bid, lending her voice to a fundraising appeal on his behalf last fall and portraying his bid as necessary to return the Senate to Democratic control. Harrison welcomed her official endorsement, calling the California senator “a relentless fighter for working people” and pledging to work toward equitable health care and infrastructural improvements if elected to join her in the U.S. Senate.

Harrison — an associate chairman with the Democratic National Committee and former chairman of South Carolina’s Democratic Party — is also backed by another former presidential hopeful, U.S. Sen. Cory Booker. Harrison met the New Jersey senator while both were at Yale University.

He’s also backed by U.S. House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn. The senior South Carolina Democrat has long been a political mentor for Harrison, who worked for Clyburn as director of U.S. House floor operations.

Harrison’s campaign said he has also been endorsed by Rev. Jesse Jackson and many members of Congress, including Congressional Black Caucus Chairwoman Karen Bass and House Democratic Caucus Chairman Hakeem Jeffries.

Earlier this year, Harrison became the party’s presumptive nominee when economist Gloria Bromell Tinubu suspended her campaign and endorsed him. His campaign told AP that Harrison planned to file his paperwork in Columbia later Monday, the beginning of the two-week filing period for the U.S. Senate race.

Harrison, 44, has posted record fundraising figures in the race, which he has said it would take $10 million to win. Last spring, he received backing from the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, support that brought the promise of help with fundraising and grassroots organizing, both of which would be crucial in trying to flip a Senate seat in the deeply red state.

Since then, Harrison raised $3.5 million in the fourth quarter of last year and had $4.6 million cash on hand to start 2020.

Graham, 64, is a popular incumbent seeking a fourth term, supported by President Donald Trump in a state where the administration’s favorability remains high and Republicans currently occupy all statewide offices and control both legislative chambers.

Graham has brought in record hauls as well, posting $3.9 million in fundraising at the end of the fourth quarter of 2019, topping his own previous quarterly record and leaving Graham with $10.3 million on hand, according to his campaign.

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Meg Kinnard can be reached at http://twitter.com/MegKinnardAP

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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