Graham’s defeat by Harrison would be more than a personal comeuppance. It would be a morality play. And so, just as the unprecedented contributions to O’Rourke owed plenty to the nastiness of Cruz, the even bigger contributions to Harrison speak to the noxiousness of Graham.
“Lindsey Graham is, next to Mitch McConnell, the most attractive target for the left to take down,” Todd Shaw, an associate professor of African-American studies and political science at the University of South Carolina, told me.
Harrison conceded that a significant measure of his traction in this race is attributable to “the fever about Lindsey Graham,” who personifies what voters dislike most about politicians. “So many people thought so highly of him, and to have him betray that trust has added an extra layer of passion,” Harrison said.
He added: “The country is simply tired of being divided. They’re tired of the chaos. They’re tired of the racialized rhetoric. One of the things I say, tongue-in-cheek, is that we need a national holiday after this election so that all of us can sit on a counselor’s couch for a few hours. We all just need that reprieve.”
Jessica Taylor, who analyzes Senate races for the nonpartisan Cook Political Report, told me that Graham’s predicament was neatly illustrated by a surprising recent development: “He started running a biography ad this past weekend.” That suggests that he’s concerned about his likability and needs to reintroduce himself to his constituents. “That’s not the kind of ad you run if you’ve been in Congress for 25 years,” Taylor said.
Like other prominent political analysts, she favors Democrats, who are currently at a three-seat disadvantage, to regain control of the Senate. She gives them the clear edge to defeat Republican incumbents in Colorado and Arizona, and she puts seven other races with Republican incumbents, including Harrison’s, in the tossup category.
One of those races, in Georgia, also involves a Black Democratic challenger, Raphael Warnock, the senior pastor at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta. He’s trying to unseat Senator Kelly Loeffler, and if both he and Harrison were to win, there would be two popularly elected Black Democratic senators from the Deep South, where there had never been any before.