Graham's reelection bid more uphill, according to Cook Report, despite race appearing to tighten

As chairman of the powerful Senate Judiciary Committee, Graham will be tough to unseat, deny fourth term

Published: August 17, 2020 3:54pm

Updated: August 17, 2020 4:50pm

South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham’s attempt to seek a fourth term in November is becoming more competitive, according to the Cook Political Report.

The respected, nonpartisan newsletter that handicaps elections on Monday shifted the projected outcome of the race toward Democratic challenger Jaime Harrison.

Cook moved the race from its "likely" Republican category into the "lean" category. 

A handful of factors contributed to the rating change including Harrison’s ability to essentially match Graham fundraising number of roughly $30 million, according to The Hill newspaper. 

The Cook Report analysis suggests that Harrison’s potential upset bid is the result of the May 25 death of George Floyd in the custody of Minneapolis police, which resulted in weeks of social justice protests and that has likely motivated Black Americans to vote this election cycle.

The Cook Report made the change despite polls appearing to show the race tightening. The most recent Quinnipiac University poll shows the candidates tied at 44% percent.

Still, Graham, chairman of the powerful Senate Judiciary Committee, will be tough for Democrats to defeat, considering he won his last reelection bid, in 2014, by nearly 16 points, and President Trump, with whom Graham is politically allied, carried the state in 2016 by more than 14 points.

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