CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC/AP) - Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham has been re-elected defeating Democratic challenger Jaime Harrison in South Carolina’s most expensive Senate contest.
Graham won his fourth term on Tuesday night as he faced his most stalwart general election opponent to date in Harrison.
Graham spoke to his supporters shortly before 11 p.m., calling the victory “an answer to a lot of prayers.”
“So to those who’ve been following this race from afar, I hope you got the message,” he said. “Here’s the message I got: People like what I’m doing and I’m going to keep doing it. I’m going back to the Senate with a purpose. I’ve never wanted my job more than I do now I never appreciated my job, more than I do now. I’m more never been more grateful to have it. And I think I’ve never been more prepared to do it than I am right now.”
Graham pledged to put national security interests ahead of everything else and said he would continue to have the backs of the men and women in uniform and make sure America has “the best prepared military to deter war.”
Harrison thanked his campaign and supporters for their work. Harrison said South Carolina’s state motto, “While I breathe, I hope,” rings true.
“We did something incredible here in South Carolina. We proved that public office is not a lifetime job,” he said. “And that the people are willing to hold our leaders accountable.”
He said they also proved a new South is rising.
“Tonight only slowed us down,” he said. “But a new South with leaders who reflect the community and serve the interests of everyone will be here soon enough.”
He also congratulated Graham on what he called “a hard-fought campaign” and his long career in Congress.
“Sen. Graham and I may have our differences,” Harrison said, “But I hope he will maintain the spirit of cooperation he’s known for.”
Graham was holding his watch party at the University of South Carolina in Columbia.
Earlier today, Graham said he felt confident about the race, adding that he’s never felt better about it.
Graham has served in this seat for 18 years. He’s been campaigning across the state, even making some stops in the Lowcountry. If Graham had lost the seat, he said Republicans would lose control of the U.S. Senate.
But South Carolina Republican Party Chairman Drew McKissick said he was not worried about that and believed the results would be known before everyone headed to bed Tuesday night.
“We’ve seen that enthusiasm from our base when it comes to the issues, and it’s helped us put together the single greatest ground game in the history of the South Carolina Republican Party by a factor of five in terms of door knocks and phone calls," McKissick said earlier today. "The Democrats in this cycle basically bailed on this cycle in terms of doing a ground game because of coronavirus concerns and what have you, and I think they’re going to regret that when that night is over.”
Harrison spent the majority of his day greeting voters at the polls, starting outside in precincts in Richland County before traveling to meet voters in Florence County.
The contest was propelled by an onslaught of spending from both candidates and a slew of third-party groups.
Harrison has bested all Senate fundraising records, becoming the first candidate to amass a war chest of more than $100 million. Graham told The Associated Press he also raised about $100 million, with a third-quarter haul of $28 million representing a new GOP quarterly record.