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Photo: Carolyn Kaster/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

The Cook Political Report on Monday moved its forecast of South Carolina's Senate race, which features Lindsey Graham (R) seeking re-election, from "likely Republican" to "lean Republican."

The state of play: The race has tightened as Jaime Harrison, Graham's Democratic challenger, has proven himself to be a fundraising contender amid a favorable electoral climate for Democrats, driven by the coronavirus pandemic and a renewed focus on racial justice, per an analysis by Cook's Senate editor Jessica Taylor.

  • A Harrison victory would mark the first time that two Black senators occupied both of a state's seats simultaneously. Sen. Tim Scott (R) is South Carolina's other senator.

The big picture: Black voters in South Carolina were a key driver of Joe Biden's primary victory in the state, which ultimately propelled him to convincingly win the Democratic nomination. Biden's pick of Kamala Harris as his vice presidential nominee could further energize Black voters in the general election.

  • That outcome could help drive additional turnout and enthusiasm down the ballot for Harrison.

Yes, but: Graham is still definitively the favorite. South Carolina hasn't elected a Democrat to the Senate in over 20 years.

The bottom line: "[I]t’s clear this race is becoming more competitive, and Graham faces an incredibly strong challenge," Taylor writes.

Go deeper

Updated Nov 20, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Joe Biden wins Georgia, AP projects

Expand chart
Data: AP; Chart: Naema Ahmed, Andrew Witherspoon, Danielle Alberti/Axios

President-elect Biden has won Georgia, AP reported Thursday evening.

Why it matters: His win, the first by a Democrat there since 1992, sets the state up as a new battleground — giving Georgia a chance to test that status in January when the runoffs for two Senate seats determine control of the chamber.

Biden's Day 1 challenges: Systemic racism

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Kirsty O'Connor (PA Images)/Getty Images

Advocates are pushing President-elect Biden to tackle systemic racism with a Day 1 agenda that includes ending the detention of migrant children and expanding DACA, announcing a Justice Department investigation of rogue police departments and returning some public lands to Indigenous tribes.

Why it matters: Biden has said the fight against systemic racism will be one of the top goals of his presidency — but the expectations may be so high that he won't be able to meet them.

Caitlin Owens, author of Vitals
1 hour ago - Health

Most Americans are still vulnerable to the coronavirus

Adapted from Bajema, et al., 2020, "Estimated SARS-CoV-2 Seroprevalence in the US as of September 2020"; Cartogram: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

As of September, the vast majority of Americans did not have coronavirus antibodies, according to a new study published in JAMA Internal Medicine.

Why it matters: As the coronavirus spreads rapidly throughout most of the country, most people remain vulnerable to it.