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Confirmation Hearings May Be 'Last Stand' for Graham

South Carolina senator is in the spotlight as chairman amid his tight reelection race
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 12, 2020 9:49 AM CDT

(Newser) – Much is at stake in the confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett, now underway in DC, and not just in court-related matters. The AP sees the hearings as a possible "last stand" for Lindsey Graham. The 65-year-old South Carolina Republican is locked in a tight race with Democratic challenger Jaime Harrison, who keeps shattering fundraising records. Now Graham is in the spotlight as he chairs the Senate judiciary panel hearings. On Monday, he defended holding the hearings so close to an election, despite having previously opposed the idea in principle. Presidents are elected for four years, he said, per the Washington Post: "This is a vacancy that has occurred through the tragic loss of a great woman, and we're going to fill that vacancy with another great woman."

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But shifts in positions like that—including going from being a prominent critic of President Trump to a vocal backer—have dogged Graham. "Senator, how good is your word?" Harrison, 44, asked when the two debated recently. And Graham also took flak for denying during the debate that systemic racism existed in South Carolina, at least for some, notes Slate. "If you’re a young African American, an immigrant, you can go anywhere in this state," he said. "You just need to be conservative, not liberal." A professor at Furman University sums things up: "What he's finding out is in the last four years it's come back to bite him," says Danielle Vinson, per the AP. "There are lots of people who were familiar with him. He was willing to take on the party. When he changed to support Trump and embrace Trump, I really think it set some people off." (Read more Lindsey Graham stories.)

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