South Carolina Democratic Senate nominee Jaime Harrison, who is challenging Republican Senator – and Donald Trump ally – Lindsey Graham, raised a record $13.9m for his campaign in the second quarter of 2020, he announced on Tuesday.
The fundraising mark nearly doubles Mr Harrison's first-quarter haul of $7.3m, the Palmetto State's previous record for quarterly fundraising by a congressional candidate.
The former state Democratic party chairman's prolific fundraising "reflects the grassroots energy behind Jaime’s movement," his campaign said in a statement on Tuesday, and will enable it to "make the investments necessary to send Lindsey home for good."
Mr Harrison's campaign to oust Mr Graham, a longtime staple in Washington and one of the most vocal Republican senators, is widely considered a long shot by leading elections handicappers, despite the challenger's impressive fundraising.
An online poll in May from Civiqs found Mr Graham and Mr Harrison tied with 42 per cent support, though the margin of error was +/- 4.5 percentage points.
Mr Harrison's fundraising haul is indeed ludicrous: he raised 33 per cent more money than former Texas Democratic Senate candidate Beto O'Rourke ($10.4m) did in the second quarter of 2018 during his campaign to replace GOP Senator Ted Cruz.
Mr O'Rourke's campaign, which ultimately did not succeed, was widely lauded as a fundraising machine unlike any the Senate had ever seen from a challenger, and helped propel him into the 2020 presidential race for a time.
Mr Harrison's backers have insisted his race is different from Mr O'Rourke's.
More than one in every four South Carolinians is black, the most reliably Democratic racial demographic in the country.
The recent reinvigoration of the Black Lives Matter movement after the deaths in police custody of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Breonna Taylor in Louisville, Rayshard Brooks in Atlanta, and others could help increase turnout in black communities across the country, several elections experts have predicted.
Mr Graham is still likely to have a cash-on-hand advantage in the race. By 20 June, the senator had reported $13,936,243 still left in the campaign coffers, compared to Mr Harrison's $6,724,134 mark from his 20 May pre-primary filing.
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