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Not the Man I Once Supported: Influential Lindsey Graham Donor Flips his Support to Jaime Harrison

South Carolina is among the reddest of the Red States. And Lindsey Graham has been an institution there since 1994, first as a congressman and then as a senator. He’s done so handily, winning his most recent election by 15%.

Photo credit: ambientjohn/Flickr

But Graham will have a fight on his hands in 2020. Democratic challenger Jaime Harrison has had both impressive polling and fundraising numbers. And now Harrison has the support of Richard Wilkerson, once a prominent Graham donor.

Wilkerson is the former Chairman of Michelin North America. He has supported both Democrats and Republicans. Over time, he has given Graham’s campaigns over $10,000.

But in an op-ed published in the Greenville News, he says he started to lose faith in Graham around 2017. “I asked myself, ‘What is the character of a man who will not defend his best friend? If he won’t defend John McCain, why would I expect him to defend any of us in South Carolina?'”

Wilkerson continued, “My conclusion was that he was more interested in currying favor than in honoring the memory of a true American hero whom he had described as his best friend. I was extremely disappointed.”

The former Michelin exec finished his column with a stinging rebuke. Graham used to be criticized by more conservative people in the Republican Party for being a RINO (Republican in Name Only),” he wrote. “They felt that his moderate stance on issues until 2017 was inappropriate. He is no longer that person, and that is why I decided two years ago to end my support. I wrote to him and let him know that I no longer recognized him as the man I once supported.”

Harrison was thrilled to have the support. He posted on Twitter, “Democrats, Republicans, and Independents are all citizens of our great country. We are at our best when we respect each other… and work together to find solutions.”



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