Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina has defeated Democrat Jaime Harrison. Defying polls, Graham won in a landslide. With 91 percent of the vote counted, he was 14 percentage points ahead of his challenger, according to an NBC News projection.
The senator delivered a fiery victory speech on Tuesday evening, taking the opportunity to mock pollsters and taunt liberal donors and activists who threw their full weight behind Harrison, hoping for a major upset.
“All I can say is this has been overwhelming. I have never been challenged like this,” Graham said, adding that President Donald Trump personally called to congratulate him on his victory.
“To all the pollsters out there, you have no idea what you’re doing. And all the liberals in California and New York, you wasted a lot of money.”
“This is the worst return on investment in the history of American politics,” Graham added.
Graham has had to fend off tough challengers in previous cycles. However, they were mostly Republican candidates who challenged the senator from the right, taking issue with his apparent willingness to work with Democrats on bipartisan legislation. Four years ago, Graham was one of Trump’s staunchest critics, but he has since become one of the president’s most loyal allies.
Harrison, who worked for Democratic Rep. James Clyburn before leading the South Carolina Democratic Party, raised more than $100 million, shattering all records. He raised $57 million in the third quarter of the year, which some Republicans saw as a sign that Graham could lose his seat.
Even Graham seemed concerned about his opponent’s fundraising prowess. During appearances on Fox News and other cable networks, he repeatedly pleaded for donations, complaining that he is being outspent by huge margins and alleging that Democrats have taken aim at him for supporting the confirmation of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court.
Harrison delivered his concession speech shortly after Graham declared victory, telling his supporters that “tonight only slowed us down.”
“We proved that public office is not a lifetime job and that people are willing to hold our leaders accountable. We proved that there is no such thing as red or blue states,” he said.
Republicans seem on track to maintain a firm grip on the Senate. As reported by CNN, Sen. Susan Collins of Maine won, while Alabama Democratic Sen. Doug Jones lost to former Auburn football coach Tommy Tuberville. In Montana, GOP incumbent Steve Daines defeated Democrat Steve Bullock.
As The Hill reported, Republicans appear to have flipped five seats in the House of Representatives.