Democratic candidate Jaime Harrison is giving Lindsey Graham the hardest fight of his U.S. senatorial career. On Wednesday the first Black chairman of South Carolina’s Democratic Party said the pressure is starting to get to the three-term incumbent, who recently made a spectacle of releasing tax returns.
“It’s a desperate ploy by somebody who understands that he’s in a fight for his life,” Harrison said of Graham’s recent political play. In an interview with the hosts of ABC’s Powerhouse Politics podcast, he added, “I almost feel a little sad for him. Not enough that I’m going to relent.”
Last week the Trump ally released 11 years of state and federal tax returns and urged Harrison to do the same. On Monday, Graham attempted to call Harrison out for not yet releasing his own. A day later it backfired when Harrison made his public, then tweeted, “Done. Now do President Trump.”
“Senator Graham is in for the race of his life, and he is getting more nervous every day about his reelection chances,” Harrison campaign manager Zack Carroll said. “Lindsey Graham has changed after 25 years in Washington into someone who puts his political fortunes ahead of problem-solving. Voters are turning toward Jaime Harrison, who will work hard to deliver real results and represent South Carolina values in the U.S. Senate.”
Graham’s request for Harrison felt hypocritical given the South Carolina senator’s close connection to Donald Trump, who has refused to release his tax returns after more than three years in office. The filings have been at the center of a legal fight between the impeached president and Democrats, who have demanded that he make the contents available to the American public. Graham’s decision to attack Harrison over his returns further ignited those calls.
Though the veteran politician is still predicted to win reelection in the deep-red state, Harrison poses a serious threat to Graham’s campaign. A Quinnipiac poll released on Wednesday put the competitors in a dead heat with each receiving 48 percent support.