Oct 7, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Cook Political Report moves Lindsey Graham's Senate race to a "toss up"

A photo of U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham

Photo: Ken Cedeno/Pool/Getty Images

The Cook Political Report on Wednesday updated its forecast for South Carolina's Senate race, moving it from "lean Republican" to "toss up."

Why it matters: Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham's Democratic challenger, Jaime Harrison, has been able to out-raise the sitting senator — a key ally of President Trump — and tighten the race, which could be pivotal in deciding control of the Senate.

  • Recent polling shows Harrison tied with Graham, who won his last race by 10 points.
  • Harrison has raised an astonishing amount of money — $14 million during last quarter alone — and has been able to blanket the airwaves with advertisting, leaving Graham scrambling to catch up.

The state of play: Graham, as chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, will take a front-and-center role in the Supreme Court confirmation hearings for Amy Coney Barrett, which could help to move the dial for him among conservatives in the weeks ahead.

Flashback: In April, Cook moved the race from "solid Republican" to "lean Republican."

The bottom line, via Cook's Jessica Taylor: "Ultimately, this race has earned a more competitive rating — underscoring just how fast the GOP majority is slipping away if they have to defend turf like this, and also how much Trump’s numbers have fallen across the board."

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