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Lindsey Graham is running for her life

“Lindsey, just come up and say, ‘I changed my mind,'” Harrison exclaimed in an interview after a “drive-in” meeting with about 250 cars.

“I think people wake up to the fact that this guy cares more about being popular in DC than he does about addressing. [voters’] needs, ”Harrison said, tapping Graham for showing up“ at Sean Hannity every other night. ”

Graham is facing headwinds this year that were unforeseen even a few months ago. Recently, he resorted to joining his campaign page during appearances on Fox News, leading to his collection of $ 28 million in the third quarter, a record for a GOP Senate candidate if only a fraction of Harrison̵

7;s total. While Harrison attracts larger crowds and appears to have momentum, Graham projects confidence and admits the election as a choice. Opinion polls show a race around the margin of error.

“[Trump] can be a handful; he can get in the way of his own success, ”Graham said in a brief interview. “But when we get closer to the day of the vote, there is a comparison of where the country will go under his leadership in relation to the democratic party. And I think it’s getting better for us for the day. ”

“This is not a personality contest,” Graham added, referring to Trump. “This is about the future of your country.”

But Trump’s declining poll creates problems for Graham. Harrison’s campaign covers the airwaves and the Internet with ads portraying the incumbent as unreliable and two-faced, pointing to his transformation into a Trump cheerleader.

“[Voters] tends to have a very low respect for hypocrites, ”House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (DS.C.) said in an interview before Harrison’s rally as the sound of Graham slamming Trump in 2016 blew into the background.

“And they look at these candidates, and when they can see authenticity, they tend to buy into it. That’s what Jaime has done, ”added Clyburn, who calls Harrison his protégé.

Graham on Friday declined to say whether Trump helps or hurts, even when he embraces the president.

Everything else being equal, the candidate wins with an “R” next to his name throughout the state of South Carolina, based on the composition of the electorate. So Graham seeks a fourth term by shedding his two-party cred and portraying himself as a conventional Republican.

In reality, not everything is equal in this election, and the 65-year-old Graham is anything but a traditional Republican.

He sailed for re-election in 2014 after striking back the tea party and isolating himself from opponents on the right who, among other things, called for his moderation to immigration and gun control. He was once a Republican for Democrats who wanted to cut a deal, and in 2014, he stuck with his long-held belief and maintained his truth-telling despite a primary challenge from the right.

The difference between Graham from 2014 and Graham 2020 is not hard to figure out. On Friday, he teamed up with Nancy Mace, who challenged him from the right in 2014 and is now running toward the first term of office Joe Cunningham (DS.C.). Mace and Graham were bitter rivals, just as Graham and Trump were during the 2016 presidential campaign.

“She’s my teammate now,” Graham said in a brief interview. “This just tells you it’s not about Nancy and myself … We’ve set aside our differences to focus on what we have in common.”

In fact, the Graham-Mace partnership is mutually beneficial. Republicans are in trouble here, and they’re throwing away their old grudges and litmus tests.

“It’s important. That we show unity to everyone,” Mace said in a brief interview after meeting with Graham.

Graham insists he has not changed that “I am my own man” despite his willingness to work with Trump. He made it a point to tell reporters after the demonstration on Friday that he voted for Liberal judges Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor, that he believes the climate is changing and that he wants undocumented migrants to have a path to citizenship.

“[Harrison] get money from all liberals in the country who hate my gut. What happens here? Exclaimed Graham. “I’m the guy who’s been sitting with Democrats for over a decade trying to solve a complicated problem like immigration, to my own detriment. What has changed is the radical nature of the Democratic Party. ”

But Graham’s two-party past is not useful to him in 2020 – which is why he did not mention any of it to rally guests wearing Trump shirts and holding Graham campaign badges. Instead, he reset the Democrats’ vague threats of retaliation against the Republicans for pushing through Barrett. He warned voters that if Democrats control the power lines in Washington, they will relinquish control of the “radical left” by grabbing the Supreme Court, getting rid of the Electoral College, numbering the legislative filibuster and letting illegal immigration run rampant and raising taxes.

“This is an election that people need to be fired about,” said Greg Powell, a retired veteran and GOP voter who attended Graham’s demonstration on Friday. When asked about the external money flowing into the state, he said, “On the bright side, I think it’s good for the economy.”

Darren Sweet, a Graham voter, lamented that “there was no middle ground left” in the country and said he appreciated that Graham has worked with Democrats in the past.

In the final days of the campaign, Graham storms the state to advance his efforts to confirm Barrett. “The only problem I could possibly have, I think, is if people become complacent and they do not vote,” he said.

Harrison, 44, is associate chairman of the Democratic National Committee and previously served as chairman of the state Democratic Party. His party ID is his biggest biggest responsibility, Republicans say here.

“Since the campaign is out now, the Graham campaign has started to make people very aware of the topic positions. [Harrison] represents, his party represents, ”said Republican Party President Drew McKissick. “And that’s moving him further and further away from ordinary South Carolines.”

Harrison has made the race competitive not only because of the boatloads he has traveled, but because his campaign has driven a massive turnout effort in every corner of the state – one that targets not only Democrats but also disgruntled Republicans.

Harrison’s ads – you can not miss them when you turn on the TV – become more creative as his campaign continues to draw record amounts of cash. A recent Harrison ad tried to attract Conservative voters to Bill Bledsoe, the candidate of the Constitutional Party who has since approved Graham but is still in the polls.

The ad highlights Bledsoe’s support for Trump and his opposition to gun control laws aimed at peeling the Conservatives away from Graham.

Graham and Trump have always been a weird pairing, especially after their bitter rivalry in the 2016 campaign. Graham has said he wanted to remove his disagreements with Trump to help him become a better president and help his home state. But some Democrats see it as almost natural that they want a connection to each other.

“One of the reasons Lindsey and Trump get along well is that they just say what they think,” said Senator Chris Coons (D-Del.). “There’s not much filter.”

Harrison, a lawyer and former employee of Clyburn’s House office, was most animated when he spoke of Graham’s return to fill a Supreme Court seat in an election year. It was a betrayal, the Democrat said.

“When you lie to your constituents,” Harrison said, “it’s the greatest travesty a public servant can ever make.”

Burgess Everett contributed to this report.

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