COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — South Carolina Democrat Jaime Harrison has shattered congressional fundraising records, bringing in $57 million in the final quarter for his U.S. Senate campaign against Republican incumbent Lindsey Graham as the GOP tries to retain control of the chamber in the Nov. 3 election.
Harrison's campaign said Sunday that the total was the largest-ever during a single three-month period by any Senate candidate. That tops the $38 million raised by Democrat Beto O'Rourke in 2018 in the final fundraising period of his challenge to Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, who won the race.
Graham hasn't released fundraising totals for the previous quarter, although it's likely he's been eclipsed by Harrison. Last month, Graham made a public plea for fundraising to help him keep up with Harrison, saying on Fox News that he was “getting killed financially” by Harrison, who he predicted would "raise $100 million in the state of South Carolina.”
“The money is because they hate my guts,” Graham added.
At the end of June, both candidates were roughly matched at about $30 million apiece, money that has come largely from out of-state donors. For the race overall, not including the most recent quarter, Harrison’s in-state contribution amount is 10%. Graham’s is 14%.
“This campaign is making history, because we’re focused on restoring hope back to South Carolina,” said Guy King, Harrison's campaign spokesman. “While Lindsey Graham continues playing political games in Washington, Jaime Harrison is remaining laser-focused on the real issues impacting people here — like health care, broadband access, and COVID relief for businesses and families."
The latest fundraising report comes one day before the start of what is predicted to be a contentious hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee on President Donald Trump's nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court. Graham is the committee chairman.
His commitment to confirming Trump's third nominee to the court has become a focal point in the Senate campaign, with Harrison frequently chiding Graham for reversing on previous promises not to consider election-year nominations. Graham has responded by saying he feels Democrats would do the same if given the choice.
Attributing the fundraising success to grassroots support, Harrison's campaign said the $57 million came in the form of 1.5 million donations from 994,000 donors. The average contribution was $37.
During Harrison's Oct. 3 debate with Graham, social media users across the country chimed into tweet threads with pledges to donate as often as they could. In the two days following that matchup, Harrison's campaign said they brought in $1.5 million — as much as the effort had raised in some previous entire fundraising quarters.
At the beginning of the campaign, Harrison, an associate Democratic National Committee chairman, told The Associated Press he felt it could take $10 million to win the race, an amount he felt he could raise given his national-level connections. To date, he has brought in nearly $86 million.
Meg Kinnard can be reached at http://twitter.com/MegKinnardAP.
AP’s Advance Voting guide brings you the facts about voting early, by mail or absentee from each state: https://interactives.ap.org/advance-voting-2020/.