Democrats shield candidate from Lindsey Graham with plexiglass wall in election debate

Jaime Harrison appeared at the South Carolina Senate debate with a plexiglass wall to shield from possible exposure to coronavirus from Lindsey Graham (WIS-TV)

At Saturday night’s South Carolina Senate race debate, there was more to social distancing than two podiums set thirteen feet apart.

Jaime Harrison, the Democratic Party challenger to Senator Lindsey Graham, was shielded by a large plexiglass screen, and prior to the debate, his campaign manager tweeted that the incumbent senator should be quarantining.

As chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, this week Mr Graham had prolonged exposure to Senator Mike Lee, who has since tested positive for Covid-19 — per CDC guidelines he should be in quarantine.

Fittingly, the first question of the night concerned the coronavirus pandemic, the number of newly infected public officials in the past day, and whether politics had hampered the response to the virus.

Senator Graham answered first, defending the handling of the pandemic, saying that “the virus is a problem that came out of China not Trump Tower”.

He then pivoted his answer, vowing that through his position on the judiciary committee, Judge Amy Coney Barrett would be confirmed to the Supreme Court.

Mr Harrison said that he was not going to blame president Donald Trump or anyone for the inception of the disease, but he would put blame on whether it was taken seriously.

“Tonight I am taking this seriously. That’s why I put this plexiglass up. Because it’s not just about me, it’s about the people in my life that I have to take care of as well: my two boys, my wife, my grandmother,” he said.

Mr Harrison lost his aunt to coronavirus in the summer.

The debate comes on the second day of the president being hospitalised with the coronavirus at Walter Reed Medical Centre.

South Carolina has more than 151,000 confirmed cases of Covid-19 and has officially recorded 3,442 deaths from the virus.

There have been 7.4 million cases nationwide and more than 209,000 deaths.

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