Lindsey Graham fends off well-funded challenger for Senate seat

The Republican senator sailed to a fourth term after soundly defeating Jaime Harrison

(FILES) In this file photo taken on October 16, 2020 US Senator Lindsey Graham arrives to address supporters for a get out the vote rally at the Charleston Coliseum and Convention Center in North Charleston, South Carolina.  US Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina won reelection on November 3, 2020, US media reported. / AFP / Logan Cyrus

South Carolina Republican Lindsey Graham comfortably secured a fourth term in the Senate after defeating Jaime Harrison despite the Democrat’s huge influx of cash.

Mr Harrison had been polling unusually close to Mr Graham in the weeks leading up to election day. He also raised more than $57 million between July and September in his bid to unseat Mr Graham – the largest fundraising haul for any Senate race in US history.

But it was not enough to win over the solidly Republican state.

Mr Graham has served in Congress since 1995 and was widely considered to be an establishment centrist for much of his political career. But he veered sharply to the right since Mr Trump entered the White House.

Since then, he has rarely disagreed with the president, except over certain national security issues.

Mr Graham joined seven other senators in 2013 to write a major bipartisan immigration reform bill, and attacked Mr Trump as “a race-baiting, xenophobic, religious bigot” over his 2015 proposal to ban all Muslims from entering the US.

He eventually lined up behind Mr Trump’s efforts to build a wall on the US-Mexico border and the White House’s travel ban against several Muslim-majority countries in 2017.

And last month, he helped usher Justice Amy Coney Barrett – Mr Trump’s third Supreme Court appointee – through her confirmation process, securing conservative control over the body.

Mr Graham also chairs the Senate’s foreign aid spending panel, which appropriates international assistance to various countries throughout the world.