Oct 4, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Dem Jaime Harrison debates Graham behind plexiglass shield

South Carolina Democratic Senate candidate Jaime Harrison faced off against Sen. Lindsey Graham (R) from behind a plexiglass barrier at Allen University during a fiery first debate on Saturday night.

Why it matters Graham and Harrison are tied 48%-48% in the Senate election, per a Quinnipiac poll out last Wednesday. The race could be pivotal in deciding which party controls the Senate, Axios' Fadel Allassan notes.

Of note: Harrison said he took the precaution to protect loved ones, criticizing Graham for taking part in the debate following a COVID-19 outbreak on Capitol Hill. "Let’s take this issue seriously and do all that we can to not only take care of ourselves, but each other," Harrison said.

  • Two members of the Senate Judiciary Committee that Graham chairs have tested positive for the virus in the outbreak that infected President Trump.
  • Graham said Friday that he tested negative for the virus and he expects the committee to move forward with confirmation hearings for Trump's Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett on Oct. 12 as planned.

What they're saying: Graham said during the debate that he wants people to know that "the virus is serious, but we have to move on as a nation."

  • "When a military member gets infected, you don't shut down the whole unit," he added. "We're going to have a hearing for Amy Barrett, the nominee to the Supreme Court. It will be done safely — but I've got a job to do, and I'm pressing on."
  • Harrison said he's "not blaming anybody for the inception of the novel coronavirus, but the failure of leadership of addressing this."
"We failed to act. The Senate failed to act. The White House failed to act. The governors failed to act. We need leaders who are going to step up and act."

Editor's note: This post has been corrected to state that two members of the Senate Judiciary Committee have tested positive (not three).

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