Graham attacks challenger for raising out-of-state money as he does the same thing


Lindsey Graham is being outraised by Democratic challenger Jaime Harrison this year.

Sen. Lindsey Graham's (R-SC) campaign has been attacking his Democratic opponent for raising money out of state — but the Graham campaign has been raising most of its own money from outside South Carolina.

Democrat Jaime Harrison is challenging the third-term senator in November. A recent Quinnipiac University poll showed the two candidates exactly tied.

Harrison has enjoyed a significant fundraising advantage over Graham during the first two quarters of 2020. Graham's campaign has repeatedly dismissed Harrison's fundraising as a product of out-of-state progressives trying to meddle in a South Carolina race.

"Jaime Harrison's campaign is completely bankrolled by out-of-state liberals who hate Senator Graham," T.W. Arrighi, Graham's communications director, falsely told CNBC last month. "While Mr. Harrison may be able to raise nearly one-third of his money from the West Coast via Facebook ads, he's going to be sorely disappointed on Election Day when none of them can vote in South Carolina."

Arrighi also told Fox News last month that Harrison's "campaign coffers are packed"  with money from "liberals who couldn't find South Carolina on a map."

Graham's campaign has even run Facebook fundraising ads claiming that the Democrats "have raised over $14 million in Q2 to defeat Senator Graham — 93% coming from out-of-state," while asking for donations to close the gap.

Team Graham Facebook ad

Graham's campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment for this story.

But according to Facebook's ad tracker, Graham's ads were not targeted to South Carolinians. Just 12% of the people who saw them were in the state.

Moreover, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, Graham has raised the vast majority of his campaign funds this cycle from outside of South Carolina.

According to that data, Graham raised more than $16.5 million from out of state and about $2.6 million in state — making 86.5% of his donations from people who do not reside in South Carolina.

Harrison raised more than $21.5 million from out of state and about $2.8 million from South Carolinians — meaning that he has actually collected more money from in-state donors than Graham has.

"We're proud our average contribution is under $50 by grassroots supporters inspired by Jaime's message of stopping the political games and bringing hope back to South Carolina," Guy King, Harrison campaign communications director, said.

"This is yet another example of Lindsey Graham's glaring hypocrisy; once again, his actions and his words don’t agree with each other," Manuel Bonder, South Carolina Democratic Party coordinated campaign spokesperson, said in an email.

"Right now, while Lindsey is on summer vacation, South Carolina families and small businesses are struggling through an unprecedented pandemic and one of the worst economic crises in our country's history. Instead of playing political games, Sen. Graham should get back to work," Bonder added.

The Cook Political Report announced Monday that it was moving the race from "likely Republican" to "lean Republican," noting, "While there are still large hurdles that remain for Harrison to become the first Democrat elected to the Senate from South Carolina since 1998, it's clear this race is becoming more competitive, and Graham faces an incredibly strong challenge."

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.