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How Graham’s support for Barrett affects his reelection bid

South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, is himself in the political hot seat. His support for the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court during an election year, after opposing Merrick Garland’s nomination in 2016, has left many voters fed up. Gavin Jackson of South Carolina ETV reports on a close race with Democratic challenger Jaime Harrison.

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  • Judy Woodruff:

    The confirmation battle over Amy Coney Barrett has put Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham in the political hot seat, as he seeks a fourth term in the U.S. Senate.

    With one week left in the campaign, Gavin Jackson of South Carolina ETV reports on how Graham's Democratic challenger is making this a closer race than even Democrats expected.

  • Gavin Jackson:

    A park near Charleston, South Carolina, transformed into a political battlefield where more than 100 supporters sounded the war cry with their car horns as Jaime Harrison rallied his base.

  • Jaime Harrison:

    Enough is enough with the hatred! Enough is enough with the bigotry! Enough is enough with the division!

  • Crowd:

    Fill the seat!

  • Gavin Jackson:

    This Senate race has become the closest statewide race in decades, one that has Senator Lindsey Graham in the political fight of his life.

  • Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.:

    He says the main reason he's running against me is because of the way I behaved in Kavanaugh. The main reason I'm going to win is because of the way I behaved in Kavanaugh.

    (CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

  • Gavin Jackson:

    The same issues that are fueling tight polls and record-breaking fund-raising by Harrison are the issues Graham hopes will secure him stronger conservative support and a fourth term, his close support of President Donald Trump and his Supreme Court nominees.

  • Sen. Lindsey Graham:

    And thank you, more than anything else, for putting up with the never-ending bull (EXPLETIVE DELETED) you have to go through.

    (CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

  • Gavin Jackson:

    Graham's push to confirm a Supreme Court nominee in an election year, despite his previous stance to the contrary, has left many Graham voters fed up.

  • Patrick Daniels:

    Senator Graham has really disappointed me. I voted for him several times. Right out of his mouth, what he said: "Use these words against me."

    And I did. I used these words against him.

  • Carol Morrison:

    I'm a 40-year Republican, but you know, I — we're voting Biden and Harris. The last four years have been so emotionally disruptive. I have voted for Lindsey. Sometimes, they're just in office too long. Sometimes, you just need a change.

  • Gavin Jackson:

    Losing moderates and center-right Republicans, who helped him win the 2014 primary and later that election by 17 points, is one critical way Jaime Harrison has a pathway to victory.

    But Graham is still holding on to plenty of Republicans, and enticing others in places like Anderson, which is part of the ultra-conservative upstate region of South Carolina.

  • Arthur Jones:

    Six years ago, I probably said I wouldn't have voted for him, but he's come around to fight for our country. So, I will stand by him.

  • Linda Coursey:

    I think it's better that he's closer to the president now, because he stands up for him when all the demon rats in the world are against him.

  • Gavin Jackson:

    Anderson is also home to longtime Republican activist Susan Aiken, who first met Graham when he ran and won his first race for the 3rd Congressional District as part of the Republican revolution of 1994.

  • Susan Aiken:

    There's been times I have not agreed with him, but I'm kind of like Ronald Reagan said. If you agree with me 80 percent of the time, you are 80 percent my friend, not 20 percent my enemy.

  • Gavin Jackson:

    Jaime Harrison, a former congressional aide, state party chair, lobbyist, and currently associate chairman with the Democratic National Committee, says Graham's radical shift is why he got in the race last September.

  • Jaime Harrison:

    I'm about doing the people's work.

  • Gavin Jackson:

    While South Carolina is growing, and Democrats are energized from the 2018 flip of the 1st Congressional District, home to Charleston and a growing number of new residents, state Democratic Party chairman Trav Robertson admits the state is far off from becoming as blue as its neighbors.

  • Trav Robertson:

    I don't know that we're a purple state. I think that South Carolina is an independent state that trends Republican because Democrats have not necessarily run the best of campaigns.

    And I think that's one of the things that makes Jaime's campaign so successful, is that he's actually talking about the values that bind us, instead of the fear that separates us.

  • Gavin Jackson:

    And the fund-raising has been successful as well. Harrison's third quarter $57 million fund-raising hole shattered the Senate record. even Graham broke Senate GOP records by raising $28 million.

    While the TWO continue to saturate airwaves, social media sites and mailboxes, like they have for months. Harrison's overall fund-raising is on track to total $100 million. The money has boosted party coffers, funded a wave of resources that will help down-ballot candidates now and assist in future statewide races, as Democrats look toward the next battle in their war to shift the state.

    For the "PBS NewsHour," I'm Gavin Jackson in Columbia, South Carolina.

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