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Lindsey Graham battles for reelection

Outspent and now leading the confirmation hearings for President Donald Trump’s election-year Supreme Court nominee, South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham (R) is feeling the heat back home.

Graham is the chairman of the powerful Senate Judiciary Committee which means he will have to spend a large amount of time away from his reelection campaign in Washington, D.C. leading the confirmation hearings of Judge Amy Coney Barrett. He has set the start of the hearings for October 12. A final vote on Barrett is expected days before the November 3 election.

“That is my job, and I believe that I am doing what the people of South Carolina want me to do in this regard,” Graham said in reference to having to be in D.C. this month instead of spending as much time back home.

Harrison says that Graham being in Washington might work to his own benefit since he’ll have the state to himself for most of October.

“We will get an opportunity to really have a conversation with the people here in South Carolina, while he’s off doing what he likes doing, which is being in the limelight,” Harrison told the Associated Press. “I relish the opportunity to have the space to myself.”

Being in the limelight might not be a bad thing for Graham, however. Leading the high-profile confirmation process will provide the senator with plenty of free national media coverage. Graham grew in popularity among Republicans during the previous Supreme Court nomination of Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

Graham told a group in South Carolina that “lightning has struck again” with the president’s opportunity to nominate another justice and that he will be “leading the charge” to ensure Barrett is confirmed.

The two met for the first time on the debate stage on Saturday in Columbia. It was the first of three debates. Recent polls show the race is virtually tied and the two candidates have spent close to $60 million on the campaign.

“He’s a real Democrat that will join Schumer and Pelosi and Biden to transform the country into something you won’t recognize,” Graham said after the debate. “The liberals are trying to take me out. $100 million is coming in to beat me.”

South Carolina is a deeply Republican state and defeating Graham would be a huge upset. Trump beat Democrat Hillary Clinton by double digits in 2016, and Republicans control both legislative chambers, all statewide offices and almost all of the state’s congressional delegation.

“We started this race 17 points down and now we are tied,” said Harrison. “We can win this race and we can bring hope back to South Carolina.

PHOTO: Anna Moneymaker-Pool/Getty Images

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