As Kim Lovin’s Myrtle Beach home was flooding with water about five years ago, receiving an email from Jaime Harrison brought her comfort during a very distressing time, she said.
“He asked if I was doing OK and if I need anything, and that meant a lot to me because nobody has ever done that,” Lovin said of the then South Carolina Democratic Party chairman. “He cares about the people of South Carolina and that’s important to me and my family.”
Lovin, along with roughly 50 supporters at Big Mike’s Soul Food during a campaign stop Wednesday afternoon, intends to support Harrison in his crusade to flip the long-held senate Republican seat currently occupied by U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham in November.
Launching his statewide Restoring Hope Tour in Myrtle Beach, Harrison took aim at the three-term senator asserting that his focus is centered on himself and supporting President Donald Trump rather than “doing the right thing” for his constituents. Harrison touted himself as the candidate that will put people first and improve the lives of those living in South Carolina.
“This guy does not care about South Carolina, he only cares about Lindsey Graham,” Harrison said. “It’s just so important that we change the politics in this state.”
Reflecting on his family values growing up in Orangeburg County, Harrison said he wants to make a difference for those who have been neglected under Graham’s leadership. The Columbia resident noted the need to expand Medicaid and healthcare for all, to prevent any additional hospitals from closing throughout the state and ensure underprivileged communities have the resources to grow.
Harrison also stressed the need to protect the environment citing the impact recent hurricanes have had on Horry County’s residents, economy and infrastructure. He said the state needs a senator who will invest and prioritize communities when natural disasters occur.
“Right now we have a senator who is more focused on himself, more focused on playing the Washington D.C. political games than he is on addressing the issues people care about,” Harrison said. “On almost every one of these major issues that I’ve brought up, Lindsey Graham’s been on the wrong side of them.”
S.C. GOP Chairman Drew McKissick defended Graham describing him a politician who has always been true to his word.
From the economy, to protecting the homeland, to confirming conservative judges to the federal bench, Senator Graham is fulfilling the promises he has made to voters,” McKissick said. “Folks up and down the Grand Strand know Senator Graham and his record of service, and no amount of hollow rhetoric from a high-paid D.C. lobbyist is going to change that.”
With Harrison’s mission to restore hope to South Carolinians, residents in attendance on Wednesday believe his message, intelligence and enthusiasm is something that has lacked during Graham’s years in senate. Many took issue with Graham failing to visit the Myrtle Beach area, hold town hall events and listen to the issues concerning them most.
“He’s not representing the state,” Myrtle Beach resident Jennifer Mullen said. “He’s not even here.”
Conway resident Sandy Sacconaghi asserted her desire to see a Democrat enact change, reflecting on the flooding her family has experienced the last five years. She believes Harrison will inspire hope and change.
Myrtle Beach Councilman Mike Chestnut, whose restaurant hosted the event, said he wants to see a new, fresh face in office representing the ideals and needs of state and city residents. He added how politicians often forget where they’ve come from and the promises that were made once elected, but said Harrison’s wanting to be involved with each community is a positive step forward.
“I know people have different perspectives, but what you need to realize is when you go to D.C. you go to serve everybody and you go to serve the people,” Chestnut said. “Me personally, I just feel a lot of that has been missing.”