WBTV sits down with South Carolina U.S. Senate seat candidates Jaime Harrison, Lindsey Graham

Candidates locked in tight race for S.C. Senate seat

ROCK HILL, S.C. (WBTV) - According to recent polls, the South Carolina United States Senate race is going to come down to the wire as the candidates are tied.

It is neck and neck between incumbent Senator Lindsey Graham and challenger Jamie Harrison. The two candidates are equal in the polls, but different on the issues.

One of those issues is healthcare. South Carolina is one of 12 states that has not expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

Harrison says the ACA needs to not only be “strengthened", but also allow Medicaid to be expanded under the act in South Carolina. Harrison says he wants to fix what he calls “issues” with the Affordable Care Act. Speaking directly to congressional members trying to repeal the ACA, he says if there is nothing better than the healthcare the country already has, keep what is already done.

“It’s a bill that we can work with, it’s a bill that’s covering millions of Americans at this time, it’s a bill that can fill the holes until we get something that is better," says Harrison.

Graham says the current healthcare is beyond repair and possibly unconstitutional. He wants a system where all states would get the same contribution no matter where the person lives. Graham adds pre-existing conditions should be covered in the plan. He says local officials should be in charge of healthcare, instead of the government.

“I don’t want Obamacare I want South Carolina care," says Graham. "Rather than have some bureaucrat in Washington run Obamacare I would put South Carolina officials in charge.”

His Graham-Cassidy plan did not pass the Senate in a 43-57 vote.

The candidates agree more on how to tackle COVID-19 and how to tackle the economy. Both want help for South Carolinians.

Graham is emphasizing keeping the economy open with more stimulus and a vaccine. He says washing hands, staying socially distanced and using common sense is a major part of tackling the pandemic. Graham wants seniors to be the first to get the vaccine and “get it out like it’s a war.” He also says we cannot close schools or the economy again. “We must keep moving forward" was his remark.

“A stimulus to the economy but the very best thing for this disease would be a vaccine," says Graham.

Harrison also wants to help struggling South Carolinians but doing it safely as COVID-19 continues to run through South Carolina. He feels there was not enough done to help unemployed people when the extra $600 unemployment assistance. He wants to figure out how to help struggling families, get small business more money from the payroll protection plan (PPP) and acquire more personal protective equipment for first responders. Harrison calls his approach “different.”

“There are people suffering in this state right now. Trying to make ends meet trying to figure out how to make their rent," says Harrison.

The major issues are not the only things on the ballot. WBTV asked these candidates what they wanted voters to know about their character before casting a ballot.

“I’ve lived the American Dream and I’m fighting everyday to make sure each and every little kids growing up gets the same opportunity to live their American Dream," says Harrison.

“I think with me you’re going to get stable, conservative government and a guy that will reach across the aisle to try to fix problems. And I’ve got a record of doing both," says Graham.

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