- Republican Senator Lindsey Graham faced his Democratic challenger Jaime Harrison in his first debate on Saturday amid the record-breaking Democratic fundraiser.
- Harrison’s podium was 13 feet from Grahams and was shielded with a plexiglass partition.
- “It’s not just about me, it’s about the people in my life that I need to take care of, including my two boys, my wife, my grandma,” Harrison said.
- The incident comes after several Republican senators and other members of President Donald Trump’s inner circle test positive for the coronavirus, despite Graham testing negative.
- You can find more stories on the Business Insider homepage.
South Carolina US Senator Lindsey Graham and Democratic challenger Jaime Harrison drew several contrasts between their campaigns, however, in their first debate in a fundraising race that is one of the most closely watched Senate competitions of this cycle both have presented themselves as such ready to work across the gang to make legislative progress.
Candidates spoke of podiums that were 1
Both candidates say they tested negative on Friday, but Graham recently met with fellow Senate Republicans – some of whom tested positive for the coronavirus – as well as Trump, who is currently hospitalized with COVID-19.
“You have nothing to worry about when it comes to me,” Graham said to Harrison in his opening address, referring to the plexiglass.
Of his split, Harrison said he had taken every precaution to protect himself and his loved ones.
“It’s not just about me, it’s about the people in my life that I need to take care of, including my two boys, my wife, my grandma,” Harrison said.
He added that he took the virus “seriously”, especially after his great-aunt died alone in a nursing home in July.
Graham and Harrison have argued over Republican efforts to validate Trump’s Supreme Court nominee before the election
In his quest for a fourth term, Graham – chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee – also argued for his current primary objective in Congress: the confirmation of President Donald Trump’s youngest Supreme Court candidate.
After Harrison – an associate chairman of the Democratic National Committee and a former lobbyist – said Saturday night that he and his wife were still paying back their student loans, Graham retorted that, given what he saw of Harrison’s income from published tax returns: “They are a multimillionaire and you can’t repay your student loan? “
Harrison described himself as willing to work with Republicans on a wide variety of issues and described when, as the state Democratic chairman, he became close friends with his GOP colleague. He also criticized the longtime legislature’s previous support for 12-year term limits, adding, “I believe the ultimate term limit is within the power of the people here in South Carolina.”
In response, Graham promoted himself as a Conservative who wasn’t afraid to partner with Democrats. He mentioned issues like immigration and told voters, “You can limit my term on November 3rd if you wish.”
In his opening speech and in almost every response in the hour-long debate, Graham advocated conservative justice, particularly Amy Coney Barrett, whom he described as a “buffer for liberalism” in which he hoped “not to be treated like Kavanaugh” their upcoming confirmation hearings.
It was Graham’s fiery defense of Brett Kavanaugh in 2018 that helped cement his close relationship with Trump and renew support from some who had not viewed Graham as conservative enough to represent South Carolina. At that moment, Graham said on Saturday, also angered liberals, who he now says are putting $ 100 million into Harrison’s campaign and support groups, in an attempt to oust him.
“Where the hell does all the money come from?” Asked Graham. “This is about liberals hating my courage when I stood up for Kavanaugh. This is about helping President Trump.”
Harrison, 44, criticized Graham, 65, for his conflicting positions on the fairness of filling Supreme Court vacancies in a presidential year.
“Senator, you said ‘use my words against me,'” said Harrison, referring to Graham’s 2018 comments on the matter. “Your promise was that in the final year of an election no candidate would be allowed to run to justice. … How good is your word?”
Graham made repeated references to his support from two candidates for President Barack Obama’s Supreme Court, saying Barrett would be “sustained because the President has the constitutional authority” to do so.
Graham and Republican leaders had questions regarding their response to the coronavirus
The ongoing pandemic played a role both on the stage and in structuring the debates. At Allen University, a historically black institution in Colombia, members of the public were not allowed to attend the event. The media and campaign staff inside were dispersed and had to fill out questionnaires that found no exposure to or symptoms of coronavirus.
After several senators announced they would test positive for COVID-19, Republican leaders announced on Saturday that they would stop legislative work until October 19. According to the leadership, Barrett’s hearings, slated to begin October 12, will not be frustrated Graham said Friday that Senators could attend virtually.
When Graham was later asked about the number of officials who recently contracted COVID, he reiterated his commitment to keep the economy and government going during the pandemic, noting, “The virus is a problem that originated in China came, not from Trump Tower. “
He also accused Trump critics of unfairly attacking the president for contracting a highly contagious virus.
“President Wilson caught the Spanish flu right after World War I. And we live in such unusual times – I doubt anyone attacked him,” said Graham.
Harrison’s campaign officials said they raised $ 340,000 during the debate and the hour that followed. Graham’s campaign said they were “not discussing these numbers”. The two men are due to debate on October 9th.