COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - Jaime Harrison’s race against Incumbent-Senator Lindsey Graham broke fundraising records, dominated airwaves, and garnered national attention. Ultimately, the former South Carolina Party Chairman lost by 10 points, but the loss doesn’t mean Harrison is leaving politics.
On Tuesday, Harrison announced the launch of his new political action committee (PAC). He said the goal of the group is to provide support to Democrats hoping to flip red seats and support members of his party who are launching grassroots campaigns in races across the country.
“Going into communities that have been left behind. That have been left out historically and putting down major investments,” Harrison said of his new endeavor. “I often say Rome wasn’t built in a day, and you are not going to flip South Carolina or states like South Carolina in these communities overnight. If you look at the history of this state, the Republican party didn’t take control overnight. It was systemic, it was incremental,” he said.
The PAC is named the Dirt Road PAC after a story Harrison told on the trail about a man who told the former-Senate candidate he was going to stay out of politics until someone came by and paved the road by his home.
“We are going to invest in local parties, we are going to invest in good candidates,” he said.
Harrison said at this time he is concentrating his efforts on the two Senate races underway in Georgia. Harrison said in addition to these races having the potential to swing the balance of power in the U.S. Senate, he feels personal tie the Peach State as someone with a lot of families there and hailing from a neighboring state.
Harrison said he has helped raise nearly half a million dollars for the two Democrats running, but also offered them the advice he learned during his own campaign.
“When you get a punch make sure you punch back, don’t allow them to castigate you or to put something on you that you don’t believe. At the same time, make sure you speak truth to power,” Harrison said referring to the attacks he faced by Graham and others tying him to policies like defunding the police that he doesn’t support.
As for his own campaign, Harrison said he is proud of his run.
“There wasn’t a whole lot of self-criticism and critique. We did the very best that we could in this race. We took the 25-year-incumbent to the finish line. We made [Graham] nervous,” he said.
Harrison said he always knew his campaign was somewhat of a longshot but is hopeful he has taken another step to pave the way for a future Democrat running statewide in South Carolina.
“We knew we would have to get all the stars to align in order to make it happen because it hadn’t happened in well over 20 years, so we knew we were fighting against history here. And we were well prepared,” Harrison said.
However, Harrison said one of the factors he and others may have overlooked is the power of having President Trump’s name at the top of the Republican ticket.
“Donald Trump brought the voters out and that’s just a reality of the situation, and so many of us, including the Republicans, never fathomed that was going to be the case,” he said. “Nonetheless there is a lot we can build off of this so the next Democrat who runs statewide in South Carolina has a better chance of pulling off the upset,” he added.
But while Harrison has just established a new PAC, he is keeping his options open to other opportunities.
In an interview Tuesday morning, Rep. Jim Clyburn reminded the interviewer not to forget about Jaime Harrison when discussing stars in the party who should be considered for a post in the Biden administration.
Specifically, Harrison is being talked about as a potential next chair of the Democratic Party. Harrison previously served as an Associate Chair of the DNC before his Senate race.
“I’ve had a number of conversations, and I’ll continue to have conversations over the next few weeks,” Harrison said about potential next steps.
In his concession speech on the night of the election, Harrison told his campaign that the results simply, “slowed us down.”
Yet, there are no signs of slowing down in his future. He is just going full steam ahead towards the next challenge.
“If you ever talk to my son, the one thing he will say if you ask him, ‘what has your Dad taught you,’ he will say, ‘that you never give up,’ and we don’t. Not in our family. We brush ourselves off, we get back on the bike, and we ride again,” he said.