Jaime Harrison, who is running for election against U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, told Democrats in Greenville on Saturday that the Republican incumbent is a self-serving politician who “is not worthy of this state.”
“The right thing for Lindsey Graham is what is best for Lindsey Graham, not what is best for the people of South Carolina,” Harrison told about 200 people attending the annual John M. Spratt Issues Conference. The event was held at the Greenville Convention Center.
“The winds of change are blowing, my friends, and they are blowing in South Carolina,” Harrison said. “We are going to send Lindsey Graham home.”
Meanwhile, Graham, the Senate Judiciary Committee chairman from Seneca, continued criticizing Democrats for their efforts to impeach to President Donald Trump, according to two stories published Saturday.
“I have nothing but disdain for this,” Graham told CBS News’ “Face the Nation” in a taped interview scheduled to air on television Sunday morning.
In another interview with CNN at the Doha Forum in Qatar, Graham said he will seek to quickly end an expected impeachment trial in the Republican-led Senate.
Graham has never faced a serious political challenge in South Carolina since replacing the late U.S. Sen. Strom Thurmond in 2003. He has more than $8 million in campaign cash on hand as he seeks a fourth term in the Senate, records show.
But Harrison, who has raised $4 million since announcing his candidacy in May, cited a recent poll is his speech Saturday showing a tighter-than-expected race.
“The momentum is amazing,” he said.
Harrison said his campaign is seeking to help others. He said he cooked dinner Friday for parents of hospitalized children at the Ronald McDonald House in Greenville. He promised to turn over $20,000 at the end of December from his campaign account to the state Democratic Party to assist other candidates.
He ended his remarks by recalling an encounter that he had with a woman working as a custodian in the U.S. Capitol while he was an aide to U.S. Rep. James Clyburn. After looking at photos in Harrison’s office and asking a few questions, the woman said she knew his mother.
Harrison said the woman remembered when his mother left school before giving birth to him at age 16.
“I would have never thought that Patricia Harrison’s son would be right here,” she said, according to Harrison. “You give me hope.”
“My friends, that is what this election is all about,” Harrison told the audience at Saturday’s conference. “Because where this should be the land of hope, it is now the land of hopelessness.
“People all across this state and across this country have given up all hope because when they turn on their TV, when they open up their newspaper, when they read each and every day all they see is racism, hatred and vitriol. It is now time for us to give those people hope once again.”
Gloria Tinubu, who is competing with Harrison for the Democratic Senate nomination, spoke before him at the conference. She called for Democrats to focus on income inequality.
“We have this concentration of economic power in this country that has gotten worse and worse over the past 35 to 40 years,” she said. “And it has produced the problems that we see from low wages, declining real wages, high health-care costs.”
Two congressional candidates and two presidential hopefuls speak
Democratic state Sen. Karl Allen of Greenville kicked off the issues conference by swiping at Trump.
“Let’s take the policies of Trump, the chump, and put them in the dump,” he said.
Two women challenging incumbent Republican congressmen in South Carolina and two Democratic presidential candidates whose campaigns have attracted little attention in the state also spoke Saturday.
Kim Nelson, a public health professional, said she doesn’t have an affluent background like her opponent, freshman U.S. Rep. William Timmons of Greenville.
“No one named an arena after my dad. I’m OK with that,” Nelson said. “Washington needs fewer trust-fund babies and more people who have lived the challenges of everyday life.”
She said Timmons, whose district includes much of Greenville and Spartanburg counties, and other Republicans “are never going to do what is right for people like us.”
“Working families are the heartbeat of South Carolina, not the Republican Party.”
Columbia attorney Adair Boroughs said U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson has been ineffective since he began representing South Carolina’s 2nd Congressional District in 2001. She said his only legislative accomplishment has been the passage of a measure to rename a post office.
Boroughs said Wilson’s “reign of uselessness is coming to an end.”
The two presidential hopefuls that spoke Saturday were U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii and former Massachusetts Gov. Duval Patrick.
Gabbard, the first woman combat veteran to run for the White House, said the U.S. is spending $4 billion a month in Afghanistan that should be redirected to domestic priorities like education and health care.
Patrick joined an already crowded Democratic presidential field in November.
“Nobody is late until you vote,” he said. “That power is yours and yours alone, and I ask you not to give it up to pollsters and pundits.”