South Carolina Senate Debate Canceled After Lindsey Graham Refuses To Take COVID-19 Test

Democratic challenger Jaime Harrison declined to debate unless both candidates took a coronavirus test. GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham declined.

Friday’s debate between South Carolina’s U.S. Senate candidates was canceled after Republican incumbent Sen. Lindsey Graham declined to take a coronavirus test.

Democratic challenger Jaime Harrison asked that Graham take the test before their second debate after news broke that Graham had been in close proximity to Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), who announced last week that he tested positive for the coronavirus.

Instead of a debate, the two candidates agreed to do separate televised interviews Friday night. Harrison’s spokesperson, Guy King, told The Greenville News that the campaign was “disappointed that Lindsey has failed to take a simple coronavirus test.” 

Graham’s campaign issued its own statement to the News, blaming Harrison, who they said “declined to participate in [the debate] at the last minute.”

In Friday night’s appearance on WLTX, Harrison lauded GOP Sens. Susan Collins of Maine, John Cornyn of Texas and Vice President Mike Pence for “being responsible” and getting tested for COVID-19. Graham, he said, “thinks he’s special enough that he can’t” get tested for the disease. 

Graham was one of several members of the Senate Judiciary Committee who held a 90-minute hearing with Lee earlier this month. Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), another member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, also tested positive for the coronavirus.

More than a dozen people in President Donald Trump’s orbit have now tested positive for the coronavirus. 

At their first debate last week, Harrison brought his own plexiglass shield to protect himself from possible infection.

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