Sen. Lindsey Graham, South Carolina Republican, overcame the toughest test of his career on Tuesday, turning his back on a Democrat backed by a record attack on campaign cash to win a fourth term, according to the Associated Press.
Victory reassured anxious Republicans, who were forced to shift tens of millions of dollars from critical battlefields to a state of deep conservatism to save Mr. Graham. It also shatters the hopes of Democrats who believe that their candidate, Jaime Harrison, will improve their chances of a majority in the Senate.
Mr. Harrison, a Black Democrat whose start-up campaign has spurred progress across the country, will be the second African-American in the South to be elected to the Senate since Reconstruction.
Ultimately, however, Mr. Graham, the chairman of the influential Judiciary Committee, relies heavily on his stature in Washington to overcome. Just days before the election, he helped bring a single victory to the conservatives, claiming Justice Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court, using the highly partisan war in the Senate to promote your own campaign. He also benefited from a close relationship with President Trump, who easily ran the state on Tuesday.
Mr. Graham, 65, has been with Washington since the 1990s, when he was first elected to the House of Representatives, and is known as an intelligent and effective political messenger.
He avoids making war against Mr. Harrison personally. Instead, he attacks his Democratic rival, a general liberal, whose policy preferences on health care, spending and judges simply don’t fit into a state. firm conservative.
But the most recent results show that Mr. Graham’s position has also had a significant influence in the state since he last ran for office in 2014. Before being re-elected this time, the senator made a significant political revamp, dismissing his reputation as being moderate in trading. who once called Mr. Trump a “xenophobic, xenophobic religious stubborn” to portray himself as a conservative warrior standing on the president’s right arm. The transition seemed to have left some moderate Republicans abandoned by the president, even if it failed to convince some of his staunchest conservative supporters.
Mr. Harrison has tried to exploit those rifts, portraying Mr. Graham as a morally compromised politician willing to do whatever it takes to win. Pouring out with over $ 86 million in contributions – a record number for a Senate race fueled by out-of-state liberalists who hate Mr. Graham – Mr. Harrison veiled the state State with advertising not only strengthened his own candidate, but also backed Bill Bledsoe, a candidate for the Constitution Party, whom he hopes could draw conservative votes away from Mr. Graham.
That hasn’t proven enough. Mr. Harrison simply cannot find enough South Carolini people willing to vote for a Democrat.
If he had a chance to do so, it almost certainly ended in a few weeks after Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death in mid-September. In 2018, Mr. Graham spoke out in defense of Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh when facing charges of sexual assault for a short period of time, he became a conservative rock star.
This time, as the president of the judicial panel, he had a microphone and a spotlight during national televised hearings to show himself as an ally of conservative women and to remind. the party’s voters on what is at stake. He can reliably claim to be a key force in consolidating a conservative majority on the court that Republicans have long favored.
Now, Mr. Graham will spend another six years in Washington. In the weeks leading up to Election Day, Mr. Graham hinted that he might try to regain his independence if re-elected. And with the possibility that Mr Trump will fail, he will be positioned as a key player in defining the path ahead of his party.