The contest between South Carolina Senate Democratic challenger Jaime Harrison and GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham is one of the most closely watched races in the nation, in part because it is one of the seats Democrats hope to pick up in order to seize control of the entire Senate.
Harrison was shielded behind plexiglass as the two took to the debate stage Saturday (Oct. 3) in the first of three in the race, exactly one month away from Election Day, according to the Daily Beast. The plexiglass was brought to the debate by Harrison and served as a stark reminder of troubling news that had broken earlier: Donald Trump and several other high-ranking Republicans had tested positive for the coronavirus after months in which the president had downplayed the impact of the virus.
Graham, who was not behind plexiglass, is chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Last week, he had prolonged exposure to Utah. Sen. Mike Lee, who has since tested positive for the virus, and per CDC guidelines he should be in quarantine, the Independent notes.
“Tonight I am taking this seriously,” Harrison said. “That’s why I put this plexiglass up. Because it’s not just about me, it’s about the people in my life that I have to take care of as well: my two boys, my wife, my grandmother.”
Harrison lost his aunt to coronavirus in the summer, reports say.
The race is a significant one because Graham is a prominent Republican leader who went from being harshly critical of Trump to acting as one of his fiercest defenders, including embracing the president’s law and order rhetoric against the backdrop of protests calling for social justice amid the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor.
In addition, as chairman of the Judiciary Committee, he said he would move forward with Trump’s nominee to fill the seat of late-Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg before the elections, and despite democratic protests.
Harrison and Graham are almost neck-and-neck in the polls as of Oct. 1, according to FiveThirtyEight. Harrison, a former chair of the South Carolina Democratic Party, has surpassed Graham by a wide margin throughout the tightly-contested race, the report notes.
"Where the hell is all this money coming from?” Graham complained Saturday, the Daily Beast writes. “What is it about South Carolina that has attracted almost $100 million into Mr. Harrison's coffers? They hate me. This is not about Mr. Harrison. This is about liberals hating my guts because I stood up for Kavanaugh when they tried to destroy his life. This is about me helping Donald Trump. The only good Republican is one that tries to undercut Trump...This election is about taking me out.”
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(Photo SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)