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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 Dec 7, 2020 - Politics & Policy

The top Republicans who have acknowledged Biden as president-elect

Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

Some elected Republicans are breaking ranks with President Trump to acknowledge that President-elect Biden won the 2020 presidential election.

Why it matters: The relative sparsity of acknowledgements highlights Trump's lasting power in the GOP, as his campaign moves to file multiple lawsuits alleging voter fraud in key swing states — despite the fact that there have been no credible allegations of any widespread fraud anywhere in the U.S.

Pennsylvania certifies Biden's victory

Photo: Aimee Dilger/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Pennsylvania officials on Tuesday certified the state's presidential election results, making President-elect Joe Biden's win in the key battleground official.

Why it matters: The move deals another blow to President Trump's failed efforts to block certification in key swing states that he lost to Biden. It also comes one day after officials voted to certify Biden's victory in Michigan.

Mike Allen, author of AM
2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

First look: Anita Dunn advises Dems on economy message for '22

Signs from a President Biden event yesterday in Kansas City, Mo. Photo: Chase Castor/Bloomberg via Getty Images

In a midterm preview, top Democratic strategist Anita Dunn advises the party's House and Senate members to frame Republicans "as being against the economic interests of working Americans."

What she's saying: "Explicitly framing Republicans as opposing policies to lower costs does better than simply framing Republicans as the 'party of no,'" Dunn, White House senior adviser until August, writes in the memo.