South Carolina Democrat Jaime Harrison outraised GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham in the first quarter of 2020, according to fundraising reports filed with the Federal Election Commission this week.
Harrison’s campaign brought in a total of $7.2 million in the first three months of 2020, while Graham brought in nearly $5.6 million. Campaigns were required to file their fundraising reports for the first quarter, which ended on March 31, with the FEC by midnight on Wednesday.
Harrison’s fundraising underscores the high-profile nature of the race to flip a Republican seat in deep-red South Carolina. Harrison, a former chairman of the state Democratic Party, won early support from prominent party leaders, including former Vice President Joe Biden.
But Harrison faces a tough road in attempting to oust Graham, a three-term senator with close ties to President Donald Trump. The non-partisan Cook Political Report rates the race as “solid” Republican.
“We’re so grateful for this outpouring of support from everyday people who are looking for leadership that puts them first,” Guy King, communications director for the Harrison campaign, told CNN.
Graham’s campaign announced his haul on Thursday, touting a “record-setting” first quarter. The campaign noted that Graham canceled fundraising events during the Senate impeachment trial and the final two weeks of the quarter since the President declared a national emergency.
“It’s truly humbling to see the tremendous support and momentum continue to grow for Senator Graham,” said campaign manager Scott Farmer in a press release. “Even after canceling numerous events and suspending our fundraising efforts for part of the quarter, Senator Graham still shattered personal and state fundraising records.”
Harrison joins a swath of Democratic challengers in closely watched US Senate races who have outraised Republican incumbents during the first three months of the year – as the coronavirus outbreak upended traditional campaigning and fundraising.
Though Harrison’s numbers for the first quarter outpace Graham’s, the incumbent senator has raised more total since the beginning of the cycle – trumping his opponent by over $6 million. Additionally, Graham’s campaign has more than $4.8 million more cash on hand than Harrison.
During the last three months of 2019, Harrison raised nearly $3.6 million, outraising most other Democratic Senate challengers with the exception of Arizona’s Mark Kelly, the astronaut husband of former Rep. Gabby Giffords, and Amy McGrath, who is running a long-shot campaign to unseat Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in Kentucky.
Harrison announced his bid against Graham in a video message posted in May 2019, where he talked about his own background in the state and nodded to health care, student loans and Graham’s long record in politics – particularly the senator’s warmer embrace of Trump over time.
CNN’s Fredreka Schouten, Alex Rogers and Katie Lobosco contributed to this report.