Democrat Jaime Harrison pulled in $57 million in the third quarter of 2020 for his bid to unseat Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamGraham lays groundwork for committee vote on Supreme Court pick Democrats warn of ObamaCare threat from Barrett, Trump Gloves come off in Barrett confirmation hearing MORE (R-S.C.), setting an all-time fundraising record for a U.S. Senate candidate.
Harrison’s staggering third-quarter haul smashed the previous record of $38.1 million set by former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas) in 2018.
Harrison’s third-quarter fundraising total was driven by contributions from 994,000 donors, with an average donation size of $37, his campaign said. Harrison has now raised some $86 million across the 2020 election cycle.
“This campaign is making history, because we’re focused on restoring hope back to South Carolina,” Guy King, a spokesperson for Harrison’s campaign, said in a statement.
Ousting Graham once appeared to be a long shot for Democrats. South Carolina hasn’t elected a Democrat to the Senate in more than two decades, and President TrumpDonald John TrumpTwo ethics groups call on House to begin impeachment inquiry against Barr Trump relishes return to large rallies following COVID-19 diagnosis McGrath: McConnell ‘can’t get it done’ on COVID-19 relief MORE carried the state by 14 points in 2016.
But the Senate race between Graham and Harrison has emerged as one of the most competitive in the country. Recent public and internal polls show the two candidates running in a dead heat, and just last week, The Cook Political Report shifted its outlook for the race from “Lean Republican” to “Toss Up.”
Graham’s campaign has not yet said how much it raised in the third quarter of 2020. Harrison, however, outraised the incumbent in both the first and second quarters of the year, and Graham will need to set a record of his own if he hopes to exceed his challenger’s quarterly total.
Graham made a plea for contributions during an appearance on Fox News last month, saying that he was “getting overwhelmed” in the money race.
“Help me,” Graham said. “They’re killing me, moneywise. Help me. You helped me last week. Help me again.”