Anti-Lindsey Graham super PAC launches first TV ad in 2020 as polls tighten

Committee Chairman Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) speaks during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Capitol Hill on August 5, 2020 in Washington, DC.

Erin Schaff-Pool | Getty Images

A super PAC targeting Lindsey Graham is rolling out its first television ad against the longtime South Carolina lawmaker as polls show a tight race for the Republican’s U.S. Senate seat. 

The PAC, called Lindsey Must Go, is teaming up with NRDC Action Votes, an independent expenditure political committee, to launch the ad next week in the Charleston market. The buy is worth $300,000 and will be on air for 10 days. A PAC spokesman said the group is looking to do more TV ads with just under 50 days until Election Day. 

The announcement comes after a new Quinnipiac poll showed Graham tied with his Democratic opponent, Jaime Harrison. The Cook Political Report marks the race as “lean Republican.” 

The PAC says the ad will highlight Graham’s previous ties to the oil and gas industry. 

“Lindsey Graham has shown us his entire career that he’s nothing but another politician whose loyalty is for sale to the highest bidder,” Lauren Harper, a spokeswoman for the PAC, said in a statement provided to CNBC. “And it’s no different for offshore drilling. He’s been bought and paid for by big oil and has caved to their every demand. That is, until Trump says otherwise.” 

“The people of South Carolina don’t want oil production posing threats to their beaches, but [Lindsey] Graham’s big money donors are salivating at the chance to drill offshore,” said Jossie Steinberg, director of NRDC Action Votes. 

Graham also has a super PAC backing him. The committee, known as Security is Strength, announced earlier this year that it is planning to air TV ads backing Graham in the final two months of the election, according to The State. The buy was worth $1.6 million. 

Data from the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics, or CRP, shows that the anti-Graham PAC is backed, in part, by longtime investor Michael Sonnenfeldt. Security is Strength has the support of billionaire casino magnate Sheldon Adelson and his wife, Miriam Adelson. 

The new anti-Graham TV ad could provide the latest boost to Harrison’s underdog run for Senate. 

Harrison’s campaign announced on Thursday that it raised over $1 million the day the poll was published. Harrison has created a strong fundraising operation that has been able to counter Graham’s long-established war chest. 

Harrison’s campaign recently announced it raised $10.6 million in August, and a report by The Post and Courier shows that the Democratic candidate outraised Graham in the second quarter. Graham, however, continues to have more cash on hand. 

With his fundraising success, Harrison has been able to launch ads both on TV and online. CRP data shows that his campaign has spent just over $7 million on Facebook and Google ads so far in the 2020 election cycle. His campaign announced Wednesday that it was launching TV ads attacking Graham. 

A Graham spokesman didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

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