LGBTQ+ ally Jaime Harrison ran a strong race as the Democratic nominee for a U.S. Senate seat from South Carolina, but he failed to oust incumbent Republican Lindsey Graham.
The New York Times has called the race for Graham. With 47 percent of precincts reporting. Graham had 55.9 percent of the vote, Harrison 42.7 percent, and Constitution Party candidate Bill Bledsoe 1.4 percent.
Graham, a three-term senator, was once one of the few prominent Republicans willing to criticize Donald Trump. But he’s gone from calling Trump a “kook” and a “bigot” to deeming him “a damn good president.” He has a solidly conservative record, including a string of low scores on the Human Rights Campaign's Congressional Scorecard on LGBTQ+ issues during his long tenure.
“Here’s a guy that many of us had tremendous respect for. Because when John McCain was alive, we thought in the end of the day he would do the right thing for either the state or the nation when the rubber met the road,” Harrison told The Washington Post’s Jonathan Capehart a few months ago; McCain, the U.S. senator from Arizona who died in 2018, was Graham’s closest friend. “But what we have now seen is that this guy’s only interest is in Lindsey O. Graham. His only interest is being in the middle of things, to have power.”
Harrison is a former chairman of the South Carolina Democratic Party who has also been a lobbyist and a U.S. House staffer. As director of floor operations and counsel in the House, he helped guide the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act to passage in 2009. He attracted substantial campaign donations and polled well against Graham, but in the end Graham pulled off a victory.