Lindsey Graham's election troubles just got a lot worse

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Graham's Democratic opponent, Jaime Harrison, is now polling ahead of him just weeks before the November election.

A new internal poll conducted for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee by GBAO Strategies shows Democratic nominee Jaime Harrison leading his Republican opponent, incumbent Lindsey Graham, by 1 point in the race for South Carolina's open Senate seat. Recently, the race had been a dead heat, with Harrison tied or trailing Graham well within the 5 point margin of error since the summer.

The recent poll shows Harrison beating Graham on favorability 51% to Graham's 49%, and also shows Trump leading Biden by just 5 points, down from 14 in 2016.

The polling comes on the heels of a blistering debate between the two candidates on Saturday, when Harrison leveled repeated attacks against his opponent for an inadequate coronavirus response.

"The greatest heresy that you can do as a public servant is to betray the trust of the people that you took an oath to serve. And that's what you've done," Harrison told Graham.

Mirroring the fight that played out on the national stage over the terms for the second presidential debate, Graham and Harrison sparred over safety precautions for the debate in South Carolina.

In a show of defiance toward Graham's refusal to take his request for safety measures seriously, Harrison brought his own plexiglass divider to the weekend debate, offering viewers a stark reminder of the differences in opinion between the GOP and Democrats when it comes to the seriousness of the coronavirus.

"Tonight I am taking this seriously. 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 said at the debate.

Graham serves as the chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and after Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT), also a member of the Judiciary Committee tested positive for coronavirus, questions arose over whether Graham had been exposed. Ahead of the next debate on Friday, Harrison called on Graham to take a coronavirus test.

"Sen. Graham should follow the example of Vice President Mike Pence, and follow his own precedent from the last debate, and take a COVID test," Harrison said in a statement released on Friday.

"Of course the upcoming debates can be held, and held safely. But if Sen. Graham will not take a coronavirus test, I cannot responsibly debate in person tomorrow night and allow politics to put my family, my campaign staff, Sen. Graham’s staff, and members of the media at unnecessary risk."

In an attempt to draw into dispute Harrison's simple request for Graham to take a test before Friday night's debate, Graham released a letter from the attending physician of the U.S. Congress, Brian Monahan, stating he is not required to take a test.

"I'll take medical direction from actual physicians, not my political opponent," Graham wrote on Twitter.

As the election nears, Graham has repeatedly taken to Fox News to beg his supporters for donations, as Harrison continues to gain on the senator who just months ago Republicans believed was untouchable.

Last month, in an appearance on Sean Hannity's Fox News show, Graham told viewers, "I'm getting overwhelmed.... Help me. They're killing me, money-wise. Help me! You helped me last week — help me again!"

On MSNBC ahead of his first debate, Harrison told host Joy Reid, "My mom called me, and she said, Jaime, I thought I taught you better than that. And I said, what are you talking about, Momma? She said, Why do you have Lindsey Graham on Fox News crying?"

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.