WATCH: Harrison, Graham take part in SC Senate Forum

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LIVE BLOG: The latest updates on the U.S. Senate Forum in South Carolina between Sen. Lindsey Graham (R) and Jaime Harrison (D), being held by Nexstar Media Group and the South Carolina Chamber of Commerce in Spartanburg, SC:

7:56 p.m. – Graham gives closing statement at the forum.

7:55 p.m.- Question – Do you encourage your supporters to vote by mail? Can they be certain their vote will count?

Graham said voting by mail is safe in South Carolina. Said he wants a fair election. Said ballot harvesting is a threat to our country.

7:54 p.m. – Question – Do you support any changes to federal marijuana laws, including decriminalization, legalization or other medicinal uses?

Graham says marijuana can be a dangerous drug. Said an exception would be medicinal marijuana. He said he’s in the 30 percent saying it’s not a good idea.

7:52 p.m. – Question – If the Affordable Care Act is overturned, how will you replace it?

Graham said he is trying to get money and power out of Washington, D.C. and to bring it home to South Carolina. He discussed then Graham-Cassidy plan.

7:50 p.m.- Question- Viewer Louis Yahasz submitted the following question by video to Graham and Harrison.

“Will they (the candidates) ensure my rights are protected, the rights of a gay person? Will they support my right to be married in the state of South Carolina?

Graham said he accepts the Supreme Court’s ruling. Said he will honor the law of the land. He said the law of the land is that same-sex marriage is legal and he will honor that.

7:46 p.m.- Question – How will you address civil unrest in South Carolina?

Graham said he doesn’t believe there is systemic racism. He asked for African Americans to look at this record. He said he cares about everyone.

He said Tim Scott has tried to reform the police. He said he wants to make sure there is transparency in policing. He said he wants the police to be equipped for what they want to deal with.

7:44 p.m. – Question- What legislation do you propose to end police brutality?

Graham said count him in on police reform and said Sen. Tim Scott had a plan, that was voted down.

7:42 p.m. Question – Just this week negotiations broke down to provide a second round of relief to families and businesses struggling because of the virus. Now that the first round has expired, people are losing their jobs, their healthcare and their homes. How would you work across the aisle to get beyond partisan delays, and pass something to help South Carolina families?

Graham said voting for package that would make a difference. He said “count him in” on another stimulus package.

7:40 p.m.Question: School districts across the country require several vaccinations – like Tdap – before students can attend. Should a COVID vaccine be required for students?

Graham said if a vaccine is approved by FDA, he’d take it. He said on requiring it for students, he says that’s up to South Carolina; in particular the decision is for State Superintendent Molly Spearman.

7:39 p.m. – Question: the White House is a coronavirus hot spot. Dozens of people associated with the Trump campaign have tested positive. In many cases, those infected have been seen at large gatherings without a mask. Do you believe that there should be a national mandate to wear a mask?

Graham said he believes everyone should wear a mask, wash their hands and socially distance. On a national mandate, he’s not sure how to enforce. His advice: Wear a mask and wash your hands.

7:37 p.m. Video on Graham from 2018: “If an opening comes in the last year of President Trump’s term, and the primary process has started, we’ll wait till the next election.”

You’ve changed your stance on filling a Supreme Court vacancy during an election before. How can the people watching this debate know that your position won’t change again when it’s politically convenient?

Graham said he’s going to lead the charge to confirm Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court. Said he’s given a fair shake to liberal judges and he voted for them.

7:33 p.m.Question: Why not get tested before the debate?

Graham said he’s not going to live his life differently from how residents here in South Carolina live theirs. Said he has a letter from his doctor saying he’s CDC compliant.

7:30 p.m. – Graham next up to answer questions from our panelists.

7:27 p.m. – Harrison gives closing statement at forum.

7:25 p.m.Question: Should there be any restrictions on abortions?

Harrison said he is pro-choice and said he doesn’t believe politicians should have a role in that decision. He would like to address issues in regard to women’s healthcare.

7:23 p.m. Question: Have you met with members of Black Lives Matter? If not, are you planning to? If so, how are you working to meet the concerns of the protestors?

Harrison said he knows people involved in the Black Live Matter organization and said he hasn’t because he hasn’t been invited to meet with them. Said he believes he could be someone to help unite people together.

7:20 p.m.Question: “Just as slavery was ended, we can end the epidemic of police brutality in this country and root out the systemic racism that oppresses communities of color across South Carolina and our entire country,” Harrison said in an earlier Tweet.

Are you saying police brutality is as pervasive now as slavery once was in the South? And specifically, if it takes legislation to end police brutality,  what specific law do you propose?

Harrison said coming up with a register for law enforcement, having a national standard for use of force, demilitarizing police. Said he does not believe in the trend of defunding the police.

7:19 p.m. Question: We’ll be talking about the confirmation process in just a moment, but about the nominee specifically, is Amy Coney Barrett qualified to sit on the U.S. Supreme Court? Can you think of any reason she should be disqualified?

Harrison said she was qualified on terms of the district court. Said he would need to ask her some questions on where she stands on certain issues. Said we shouldn’t be listening or hearing confirmation hearings. The precedent and standards of the U.S. Senate should be honored, saying that Graham is going against his 2016 stance on not nominating a judge to the Supreme Court in an election year.

7:15 p.m. – Question: Just this week negotiations broke down to provide a second round of relief to families and businesses struggling because of the virus. Now that the first round has expired, people are losing their jobs, their healthcare and their homes. How would you get past partisan delays to pass a COVID relief package?

Harrison said this is about what we can do to improve South Carolina. Said senators need to stay in session and get the job done on a relief package.

7:13 p.m. – On Healthcare:

Harrison said let’s not be partisan when it comes to health care. Says everyone should have access to healthcare.

7:12 p.m. – Question: school districts across the country require several vaccinations – like Tdap – before students can attend. Should a COVID vaccine be required for students?

Harrison said if Dr. Fauci says that this is a reliable vaccine, and we feel that it’s good for the American people, then he’d take it. He said he wouldn’t do it if Graham told him to do it.

7:10 p.m.Question: The White House is a coronavirus hot spot. Dozens of people associated with the Trump campaign have tested positive. In many cases, those infected have been seen at large gatherings without a mask. Do you believe that there should be a national mandate to wear a mask?

7:08 p.m. – Carolyn Murray asks if a doctor’s note from Graham’s doctor is enough. Harrison said this pandemic impacts so many people, and that it’s important that we take the pandemic seriously.

7:05 p.m. – Gordon Dill asks Harrison why there was a demand of a COVID-19 test at the last minute. Harrison said it’s a matter of safety. Asking that Graham lead by example amid the coronavirus pandemic.

7 p.m. – The U.S. Senate Forum has begun, with Jaime Harrison as the first candidate up to answer individual questions.

6:25 p.m. – Harrison arrives at location Wingo Heights Road to speak to supporters and media.

Supporters of Jaime Harrison waiting for him to arrive at the Wingo Heights location

6:10 p.m. – Harrison announced he would be holding a socially-distanced news conference at 6 p.m. at a separate location along Wingo Heights Road in Spartanburg.

5:40 p.m. – Graham speaking now to media and Republican activists in a church parking lot on Wingo Heights Road in Spartanburg, next to WSPA-TV.

Sen. Graham’s bus arriving at the Wingo Heights location

3:35 p.m. – Graham announced he would address members of the media and Republican activists before tonight’s forum at a location on Wingo Heights Road in Spartanburg at around 5:45 p.m. According to the news release, masks and social distancing will be required.

3:30 p.m. – Graham and Harrison will each take part in individual interviews starting at 7 p.m., where they will be asked a series of questions from the forum moderator and panelists. The candidate forum will begin first with an individual interview with Harrison, followed by an individual interview with Graham.

3:25 p.m. – On Thursday, Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate Jaime Harrison called on Sen. Lindsey Graham to get tested ahead of Friday night’s scheduled debate in Spartanburg. Graham’s campaign responded Thursday night saying that, weeks ago, he “agreed to [the debate] rules and will continue to abide by them.” Graham issued a statement saying that he “took a COVID-19 test last week after a Judiciary Committee hearing.”


SPARTANBURG, SC (WSPA) – Nexstar Media Group and the South Carolina Chamber of Commerce will partner for a statewide South Carolina U.S. Senate Forum.

Incumbent Sen. Lindsey Graham (R) and his opponent Jaime Harrison (D) will each take part in individual interviews on Friday, October 9, where they will be asked a series of questions from the forum moderator and panelists.

The forum will be held from 7 to 8 p.m. in our studios, and 7 News Anchor Amy Wood will be the moderator.

Panelists for the forum are 7 News Anchor Gordon Dill and WCBD News 2 Carolyn Murray.

The forum will air live across the state on WSPA, WCBD in Charleston, WBTW in Myrtle Beach, WLTX in Columbia, WSAV, which covers Hilton Head and Beaufort areas, and WJBF in Aiken.

The forum will also be streamed live on all digital platforms.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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