Courtesy of The Cook Report:

There has been no more surprising race on the Senate map than South Carolina. Even early this year, it looked like Sen. Lindsey Graham would cruise to re-election. Instead, the Republican incumbent finds himself in a tied race in both public and private surveys with challenger Jaime Harrison, who has proven to be perhaps Democrats’ best recruit and a fundraising behemoth.

“It’s a jump ball at this point,” said one South Carolina Republican strategist. “Jaime is peaking at exactly the right time and he’s got a deluge of money. [Harrison] is blocking every pass there is from Republicans.”

Even Democrats in and outside of the Palmetto State are surprised such a typically red state is truly in play. Many Republicans have privately voiced frustrations that Graham’s campaign didn’t take the challenge from Harrison — a charismatic 44-year-old African-American former state party chairman who tells a compelling story of growing up with a teen mother and being raised by his grandparents in impoverished Orangeburg — seriously enough from the get-go.

Harrison first went up on TV back in April with positive bio spots, and hasn’t gone dark since. That allowed Harrison to set the tenor of the race. And since then, he’s had a series of ads that are very clearly aimed at who they hope will be Graham’s Achilles Heel — white women. In several spots, middle age or senior women talk about how they were once longtime Graham voters but now see that he’s changed on health care and how Harrsion’s “values” now more closely reflect their values. Harrison has made this race about character and in other Democratic ads they turn the tables and paint Graham as part of the “swamp,” and that seems to be working.

I hope people recognize just how historic this is. 

There has not been a Democrat Senator from South Carolina since 2005, and most of the older Democratic senators have been Dixiecrats who were more red than blue. 

Lindsey Graham has held this seat since 2003, and before him, it was Strom Thurmond, and we all know about Strom Thurmond. 

Harrison would be only the second black man ever elected to the Senate by South Carolina and the first to actually want to work for black Americans. 

I have been skeptical that Harrison could pull this off, but I admit I am far more optimistic these days.