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Politics Jaime Harrison bets on ‘New South’ coalition in his against-the-odds bid to oust Sen. Lindsey Graham

16:11  26 october  2020
16:11  26 october  2020 Source:   washingtonpost.com

Amy Coney Barrett's Supreme Court hearings lacked the drama that Brett Kavanaugh's proceedings had. Here's why.

  Amy Coney Barrett's Supreme Court hearings lacked the drama that Brett Kavanaugh's proceedings had. Here's why. Amy Coney Barrett's Supreme Court confirmation hearings lacked the drama of Brett Kavanaugh's proceedings. Here's why.Democrats warned of the precedent set if Republicans rushed through a nominee in the middle of a pandemic and presidential election, arguing no nominee should be considered until after voters cast ballots. They rattled off threats to slow the process, teasing a host of tools that could bog down the hearings, with some lawmakers even publicly suggesting launching impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump.

US Democratic challenger Jaime Harrison has raised a record million last quarter in his bid to unseat incumbent Senator Lindsey Graham for the South Carolina Senate Harrison 's campaign said the money was used to raise his profile to a level competitive with that of Graham , a Republican

On Monday, South Carolina Sen . Lindsey Graham got some very unwelcome news. Harrison , a former chairman of the South Carolina Democratic Party, has raised a stunning million for his race against Graham -- fueled by Democratic donors who view the GOP senator as everything that is

FORT MILL, S.C. —The first Jaime Harrison signs began appearing in front yards here over the summer, then multiplied as more residents of this heavily White, conservative suburb proudly proclaimed their support for the Black Democrat running for U.S. Senate.

a group of people that are standing in the grass: Jaime Harrison, the Democratic challenger in the U.S. Senate race in South Carolina, takes the stage Oct. 17 at a rally in North Charleston, S.C. © Lauren Petracca for The Washington Post Jaime Harrison, the Democratic challenger in the U.S. Senate race in South Carolina, takes the stage Oct. 17 at a rally in North Charleston, S.C.

“Is this really happening here?” said Bethany Pierce, 40, a librarian who has been a part of a wave of Democrats who have recently moved from nearby Charlotte.

In another Republican stronghold, two hours west in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, some say they feel betrayed by Sen. Lindsey O. Graham, the Republican incumbent who four years ago called Donald Trump a “kook” but has spent much of his time ever since cozying up to him.

'One-Way Ticket Back Home': Lindsey Graham Criticized by Jaime Harrison for 'Dodging' Debate

  'One-Way Ticket Back Home': Lindsey Graham Criticized by Jaime Harrison for 'Dodging' Debate "[Lindsey Graham] believes that he represents the interest in Washington, D.C. instead of representing the interests of the people in South Carolina," Jaime Harrison said Wednesday.Harrison has presented a strong challenge for Graham, who first became Senator in 2002. In the third quarter of 2020, Harrison's campaign drummed up over $57 million, the highest amount raised by a Senate candidate in U.S. history. Some recent polls show Graham and Harrison in a dead heat. Wednesday's debate was the second debate between the two candidates that has been postponed.

Jaime Harrison is running against Lindsey Graham for a U.S. Senate seat in South Carolina. From remote learning to coronavirus relief and marijuana, the 44-year-old Democrat says his state needs a senator in touch with the 21st century.

The conservative commentator slammed the South Carolina senator for what he feels is a lack of oversight regarding anti -conservative bias. Fox Business host Lou Dobbs on Friday slammed GOP Sen . Lindsey Graham , saying that South Carolina voters should reject the three-term senator at the

“Lindsey seems to have lost the spirit of service to his constituents,” said Casey Farra, 45, a former microbiologist and a Republican. “Jaime seems like a man of faith and truth.”

And in Charleston, home to one of the state’s largest Black communities, African American voters who put former vice president Joe Biden on the path to the Democratic presidential nomination are starting to think they can rock national politics again by turning out to send one of their own to Washington.

“This state, this whole country, is ready for change,” said Dianne Nelson, a 65-year-old retired nurse.

With much of the country grappling with the role of race in society, the 44-year-old Harrison is placing a political bet that once seemed unthinkable but now feels plausible: that South Carolina, where the Confederate flag flew on the State House grounds until 2015, could become the first in the country to send two African Americans to the U.S. Senate. Sen. Tim Scott, a Republican who is not up for reelection, is the other.

How South Carolina became one of 2020’s most unexpected Senate battlegrounds

  How South Carolina became one of 2020’s most unexpected Senate battlegrounds The historically Republican state is now considered a toss-up.In a state where no Democrat has won a Senate seat for more than two decades, former South Carolina Democratic Party Chair Jaime Harrison has fielded an incredibly strong challenge to incumbent Sen. Lindsey Graham, a high-profile Trump ally. Although early polling had Harrison lagging Graham by as much as 17 percentage points in February, recent surveys have the two lawmakers in a statistical tie.

South Carolina's Jaime Harrison is on a mission to convince Democrats and voters he is up to the In an interview with The Hill, Harrison expressed confidence that the South Carolina senator has turned off "So we are looking at building the coalition that Lindsey Graham 1.0 used to have, one

South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham suggested funds for Jaime Harrison come from “shadowy figures” and wants a potential investigation. Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-SC) makes a statement after voting in the Judiciary Committee to move the nomination of Judge Amy Coney

Although Harrison’s name might be new to the national stage, he is certainly not new to Washington politics. A protege of Rep. James E. Clyburn (D-S.C.) and a former chair of the state Democratic Party, he has spent much of the past 20 years forging political relationships and building up a political infrastructure for the left in South Carolina.

He’s been able to leverage those relationships to help produce record-shattering fundraising numbers in an effort to take on one of the most polarizing politicians in Washington.

a close up of a man with his mouth open: Harrison waits to speak at a drive-in campaign rally Oct. 17 in North Charleston. © Lauren Petracca for The Washington Post Harrison waits to speak at a drive-in campaign rally Oct. 17 in North Charleston. calendar: Jack Poss, Miles Brown and Will Johnson listen as Harrison speaks in North Charleston. © Lauren Petracca for The Washington Post Jack Poss, Miles Brown and Will Johnson listen as Harrison speaks in North Charleston.

Central to Harrison’s wager is that the same state that elected vocal segregationists to hold the very seat he is seeking, the seat now held by one of President Trump’s most prominent defenders, is prepared to take its place as a trendsetter in a changing South. And he is making race a central element of his closing argument.

Fox host tells South Carolina voters not to vote for Graham: "He has betrayed the American people"

  Fox host tells South Carolina voters not to vote for Graham: "I don't know why anyone in the great state of South Carolina would ever vote for Lindsey Graham," Lou Dobbs says Lou Dobbs and Lindsey Graham Photo illustration by Salon/Getty Images

Lindsey Graham and Jaime Harrison in deadlock in South Carolina battle. But Mr Graham has made his support for Ms Barrett’s nomination to the high court the focal point of his Mr Harrison is running a series of new ads accusing the senator of flip-flopping about whether he would seat a

Dobbs took to the airwaves with an anti - Graham tirade on Friday, blasting the South Carolina senator after he suggested he would not attempt to compel testimony from the heads of I don't know why anyone in the great state of South Carolina would ever vote for Lindsey Graham . It’s just outrageous.

“The South is transforming,” Harrison said in an interview. “And what we are seeing is the emergence of what I call the ‘New South,’ one that is bold, inclusive and diverse.”

Harrison, who was born to a poor teenage mother in rural Orangeburg and went on to graduate from Yale University and Georgetown Law, tells crowds at drive-in rallies that his election would be a potential “bookend” for South Carolina, ending its reputation as the first to secede during the Civil War and embracing the values of a rapidly transforming state.

“This was the seat of Ben ‘Pitchfork’ Tillman, who would go to the floor of the U.S. Senate and talk about the joys of lynching Black folks,” Harrison said at a recent rally, pledging that this year the state’s voters would “close the book on the Old South.”

[The Senate seats most likely to flip parties in November]

Only five states are growing faster than South Carolina — and more than 560,000 have registered to vote here since 2016.

The state does not have partisan registration, but Democrats are looking to pick up support from a mix of retirees from the Northeast; African Americans from the Midwest returning to their roots; young professionals taking jobs in the automotive and aviation manufacturing industries; and liberal North Carolinians who have crossed the border in search of bigger houses and better schools.

The Keys to Jaime Harrison's Record-Setting Senate Campaign Against Lindsey Graham

  The Keys to Jaime Harrison's Record-Setting Senate Campaign Against Lindsey Graham South Carolina was supposed to be a safe-red state for Republicans. Now it's become a battleground as Lindsey Graham fights for re-election.Even fewer people expected the Democratic candidate, Jaime Harrison, to become a sensation who shattered the record for the highest quarterly fundraising total for a Senate candidate in U.S. history—$57 million between July and September.

Democratic Senate candidate Jaime Harrison from South Carolina discusses the history of Sen . Graham ’s seat and how the state could become the first ever represented by two Black senators at the same time.

Democrat Jamie Harrison challenges Lindsey Graham over judicial nomination support. Jaime Harrison spends his time these days envisioning a “ New South ,” he told supporters on Tim Keisler, a pharmacist in his 50s who has lived in Charleston for 30 years, offered a simple four-word answer

a person standing in front of a brick building: Bethany Pierce, a native of Buffalo, has lived in Fort Mill, S.C., with her husband and 4-year-old daughter for two years. She said she has seen a lot of support for Harrison. © Allison Lee Isley for The Washington Post Bethany Pierce, a native of Buffalo, has lived in Fort Mill, S.C., with her husband and 4-year-old daughter for two years. She said she has seen a lot of support for Harrison. a car parked on a city street: A train passes by Dave Lyle Boulevard and West Main Street in Rock Hill, S.C. © Allison Lee Isley for The Washington Post A train passes by Dave Lyle Boulevard and West Main Street in Rock Hill, S.C.

Harrison told The Washington Post that he hopes that those newcomers, joining in with traditional Democrats, and the broad distaste among suburban women for Trump’s antics will enable him to build on the momentum of former candidates such as Stacey Abrams in Georgia, Beto O’Rourke in Texas and Andrew Gillum in Florida — who ran closer-than-expected statewide races in 2018 but fell short.

Harrison thinks he will fare better because he is running against Graham, a man who Harrison says traded his bipartisan instincts for fealty to a polarizing president.

Harrison’s prime example has been Graham’s staunch support of Amy Coney Barrett’s Supreme Court nomination after he vowed he would never support a justice’s confirmation in a presidential election year.

“Use my words against me,” Graham famously instructed voters to do if he changed his mind about court nominations. Harrison does.

“He is the thing that [voters] hate most about politics: someone who can’t be honest about who they are,” Harrison said. “And then, you get a round-headed, smiley guy like me talking about hope all the time.”

Lindsey Graham Bets His Career On Supreme Court: 'Biggest Challenge I’ve Ever Faced'

  Lindsey Graham Bets His Career On Supreme Court: 'Biggest Challenge I’ve Ever Faced' GREENVILLE, S.C. ― Lindsey Graham has a real race on his hands and he knows it. The Republican senator is being squeezed from all sides as the election nears ― from his left by a well-funded Democratic opponent, Jaime Harrison, an unexpected sensation who hopes a changing electorate and energized Black voters will help turn South Carolina into a purple state. And from his right, allies of Donald Trump, who say he’s not a true believer committed to defending the president and investigating his opponents.“This is the biggest challenge I’ve faced,” Graham, who has held the seat since 2003, acknowledged on Tuesday at a rally headlined by Vice President Mike Pence.

Recent polls have shown the race either tied or with Harrison narrowly trailing, and the nonpartisan Cook Political Report considers it a toss-up.

[Sen. Lindsey Graham, a Trump ally, faces toughest reelection challenge in S.C.]

Graham has warned his base to be weary of Harrison. He argued that Harrison was a typical Democrat who would enable the agenda for the “radical left,” which helps explain how he has drawn so much money from outside groups eager to give Graham the boot. The Lincoln Project — a group of former Republicans bent on taking down Trump and his allies — has been producing blistering commercials against Graham, including one comparing him to a parasite. Meanwhile, Harrison took in a third-quarter haul of $57 million that far eclipsed any Senate candidate in American history.

“Where is the money coming from?” Graham has asked repeatedly, although his campaign is upset with some places where the money is going.

South Carolina Republican officials say that, in the end, conservatives will come home to Graham. What’s more, said state Republican Party Chairman Drew McKissick, those newcomers Harrison is trying to court are actually conservatives who come to the state for low taxes and cheaper homes.

He also says Democrats have made a fatal mistake by reducing door-to-door campaigning as the country faces the coronavirus crisis, leaving an opportunity for Republicans to persuade voters who might be shaky on the senator. “Stop your bellyaching” is McKissick’s message to them. For some, the message seems to be working.

Betting Info - Tennessee - Yahoo Sports

  Betting Info - Tennessee - Yahoo Sports Tennessee is a landlocked state known for the Great Smoky Mountains — a part of the Appalachian Mountain chain — and the vibrant tourism and music scene of Nashville, home of the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. Tennessee has no casinos or racetracks, though in 1987 it tried to enter the horse racing space that included wagering with the Racing Control Act, but it was never fully implemented and it was repealed in 2015. Is it legal to betTennessee is a landlocked state known for the Great Smoky Mountains — a part of the Appalachian Mountain chain — and the vibrant tourism and music scene of Nashville, home of the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum.

“I have my issues with Lindsey, but we need people that support the president,” Donna Cantrell, 72, said outside the voting booths in Anderson.

“We have to keep that seat,” added her husband, Jerry, also 72, saying he appreciated Trump’s stance on low taxes and immigration. “The Democrats can’t get the Senate.”

a group of people standing in a room: Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) walks through the U.S. Capitol on Sept. 22, in Washington. © Amanda Voisard/for The Washington Post Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) walks through the U.S. Capitol on Sept. 22, in Washington. a group of people standing in front of a crowd: Voters stand in line outside of the Richland County Voter Registration & Elections Office on the first day of in person absentee voting in Columbia, S.C. on Oct. 5. © SEAN RAYFORD/for The Washington Post Voters stand in line outside of the Richland County Voter Registration & Elections Office on the first day of in person absentee voting in Columbia, S.C. on Oct. 5.

On the trail, Harrison tries to speak above the partisan fray and present himself as the embodiment of the American Dream. He references a popular segment cut by professional wrestler Dusty Rhodes about experiencing “hard times,” moments when those in power seem to be working in the interest of themselves while ignoring the pain of others.

He often avoids talking about Trump, but focuses on issues such as the need to expand broadband access in rural areas and to fix an uneven health-care system short on doctors and hospitals.

But his most resonant attacks are about Graham. One of Harrison’s biggest applause lines is a promise of his own.

“I will never lie to you,” Harrison tells them.

Harrison’s “New South” mantra carries echoes of a similar campaign 30 years earlier north of the border, when Harvey Gantt, the Black former mayor of Charlotte burst to national stardom with a well-financed and highly energized bid to oust the conservative icon Sen. Jesse Helms (R-N.C.).

The big question is whether Harrison can overcome the obstacles that blocked Gantt’s path.

Back then, Gantt said, his team believed they could win North Carolina if they garnered 95 percent of the Black vote and a third of the White votes.

This Is How Jaime Harrison Pulls Off a Miracle and Ousts Lindsey Graham

  This Is How Jaime Harrison Pulls Off a Miracle and Ousts Lindsey Graham NORTH CHARLESTON, South Carolina—Jaime Harrison’s path to victory against Sen. Lindsey Graham lies along a roughly 20-mile stretch of road in South Carolina’s Lowcountry. The small town of Hollywood, where Harrison made the first of three campaign stops the Sunday before the Nov. 3 election, is tucked into a thick of woods that’s barely 30 minutes from Charleston but feels much farther away. In a field outside a community center, the Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate took to the stage, flanked by banners for Democratic nominee Joe Biden, to warm applause from a largely Black, elderly audience.

The strategy seemed to be working, but Helms pulled away after producing an ad that featured the hands of a White man losing his job to a minority because of racial quotasa reminder that White grievance remained strong in the South.

Now, Gantt, who was born in Charleston, says the race issue might work in Harrison’s favor as the nation seems more interested in elevating the voices of people of color after the death of George Floyd, who was killed in police custody in May. Those efforts seemed particularly resonant in a place like South Carolina, Gantt said, which he said had always had a more independent streak than other parts of the South.

That strain stretches to Gantt’s personal history integrating Clemson University in the early 1960s, when he said local leaders insisted that his presence on campus not draw aggressive protest or resistance. It continued on with the elections of Scott and Nikki Haley — the country’s first Indian American female governor — and was most evident recently when the state legislature found the Confederate flag flying near the State House to be an embarrassment after a white supremacist killed nine people who were praying at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston.

“There’s always been an element of decency in South Carolina,” Gantt said. “You can appeal to their manners more than the morality of the issue.”

Still, Scott and Haley were Republicans and, as a longtime political strategist, Harrison knew the path would be harder for Democrats to win a statewide election.

a car parked in front of a truck: Braylen Washington, 4, says she is Harrison’s biggest fan. © Lauren Petracca for The Washington Post Braylen Washington, 4, says she is Harrison’s biggest fan. a person holding a frisbee: Sen. James E. Clyburn (D-S.C.), left, watches Harrison speak to the news media in North Charleston. © Lauren Petracca for The Washington Post Sen. James E. Clyburn (D-S.C.), left, watches Harrison speak to the news media in North Charleston.

While working as an aide to Clyburn on Capitol Hill in the mid-2000s, Harrison would constantly talk with his friend Clay Middleton, who was also on the Hill, about what it might take for Democrats to gain traction in South Carolina. The two agreed that the state party needed to become more organized, find better candidates and figure out a way to support them.

“I would be lying if I said, when Jaime and I met 20 years ago, we knew this moment was going to happen in our lifetime, when we are in our prime,” said Middleton, now a political operative in the state.

So Harrison started a fellowship program named after Clyburn to introduce college-age residents to the world of politics. He created a local political action committee and asked fellow Democrats to pool $100 a week.

“We don’t have a lot of money, but if we start a PAC, maybe we can make an impact,” recalled Colleen Condon, chair of the Charleston County Democrats.

From 2013 to 2017, Harrison served as the head of the state Democratic Party. They started seeing some small results in Charleston, winning seats at the county level and flipping a congressional seat in 2018 in a district that Trump had previously won by 13 points.

That same year, JA Moore, a chef, had decided that he, too, was going to run for a seat in the State House. He had always loved politics, but he said he felt a new inspiration to do something more consequential after his sister was killed in the shooting at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church.

After the initial enthusiasm of his candidacy, Moore said, he began to question his odds. He was challenging a Black Republican incumbent named Samuel Rivers Jr.

“Jaime didn’t do a ‘Yes, we can speech’ or anything, but he was so supportive,” Moore said. “He said you’ll be able to get some Black votes and some Republican votes. And you’ll get some progressives and Latinos and women. He wouldn’t let me doubt myself. He told me to just keep telling my story.”

Moore ended up winning the race by five points.

a woman in a car: Supporters watch from their vehicles as Harrison speaks. © Lauren Petracca for The Washington Post Supporters watch from their vehicles as Harrison speaks. a person driving a car: Brittany Crump and Jessica Levkoff listen to Harrison speak in North Charleston. © Lauren Petracca for The Washington Post Brittany Crump and Jessica Levkoff listen to Harrison speak in North Charleston.

Two years later, Harrison was employing the same strategy for himself. Harrison told The Post that his first step was to try to up his name recognition in the state. As money started to flow, he increased his campaign’s paid staff from two to 52. They put his name up on billboards and street corners, they plastered his name on tip-calculator apps for cellphones and purchased commercials to play at gas stations.

And then, an incessant number of commercials. As of the third quarter, the campaign had spent $34 million on television ads, $8 million on digital ads, and $2.2 million specifically geared toward Black radio stations.

“The more I could tell my story, the more that my name ID increased, the closer the numbers became,” Harrison said.

Harrison’s advertisements rarely mention the fact that he is a Democrat. Instead, they center on his love of state and country, and his background.

“At first he seemed a little soft to me,” said Marvel Cheeks, a 67-year-old retired political strategist who moved to Anderson, S.C., after years working in the brass-knuckle politics of Detroit. “But that’s what you have to be here in South Carolina if you’re a Black man. They don’t want fire. I came to see that he was playing it right.”

Harrison said he tries to reflect the state’s values when addressing people: firm, hopeful, affable.

His approach worked on Brandon Johnson, 34, a pro-gun, pro-marijuana libertarian who had been so turned off by the antics of Trump and Biden that he planned on voting for a third-party candidate named Jo Jorgensen, but found Harrison’s strategy appealing.

“He seems like a sincere guy, unlike Lindsey Graham, who is a puppet for Trump,” said Johnson, who lives in Rock Hill. “I like him, I don’t know if anyone else will. This is South Carolina, and he’s still a Black man.”

a man and a woman standing next to a body of water: NaTasha McNeil talks with Jessica Yang, the director of membership, growth and expansion for Mom’s Against Racism, in Rock Hill. © Allison Lee Isley for The Washington Post NaTasha McNeil talks with Jessica Yang, the director of membership, growth and expansion for Mom’s Against Racism, in Rock Hill. a person standing in front of a brick building: McNeil opens the front door for her sons, Elijah, 3, left, and Jay Jay, 4, in Rock Hill. © Allison Lee Isley for The Washington Post McNeil opens the front door for her sons, Elijah, 3, left, and Jay Jay, 4, in Rock Hill.

But as Amy Hayes sat outside with two friends on a recent day, she said she felt the culture of the place was indeed changing. In the 15 years that Hayes has lived in the area, she said other members of the local Democratic club had supposed there had to be women in the affluent suburbs nearby who would vote for Democrats.

Hayes said she tried attending local card games and wine nights, hoping to chat politics. It never seemed to work. Then, after 2016, she said women’s groups started popping up in surrounding York County, in neighborhoods where Hayes used to be hesitant to send Black volunteers to go door-knocking. They were closely following the news, attending marches and protesting outside Graham’s office.

“[Members of the party and I] used to talk about whether there would be enough White people to vote for Jaime,” she said to her friend, Susan Demchak, a doctor whose slow retreat from the Republican Party started during the 2008 campaign. “And now our answer is yes, because of people like you.”

“I had to do something,” Demchak said. “I’ll never forget that morning [after the 2016 election]. I went to bed thinking that I was going to wake up in Pantsuit Nation, and I woke up in Planet of the Apes!”

They had both been Graham supporters, even Hayes, a longtime Democrat.

“I thought he would be our hero,” Hayes said.

“A statesman,” Demchak said.

“A check on Trump,” Hayes said.

Those interests now extended beyond electoral politics. NaTasha McNeil, a Rock Hill native who had traveled the world to sing opera and then moved back home to raise her children with her husband, said she found the area to be more open-minded, more inclusive.

For example, this summer, McNeil decided she would contact some local mother’s groups to see if they could find ways to raise their children to be anti-racist. She expected maybe 30 mothers to be interested.

In York County, about five dozen women have been meeting to have their children write letters about their friends, asking police not to hurt them if they ever see them on the street. The women strategize about how they can get the local Confederate Park renamed. And they talk about Harrison.

McNeil, who is African American, knew that South Carolina’s political leaning would not change overnight. Signs for Trump and Graham still overwhelm the county, but she said Democrats are waking up.

“So, for the first time in my life, I’m starting to feel more confident that someone like Jaime Harrison could win South Carolina,” McNeil said. “We are the tortoise, but we are still in the race.”

a bench in front of a brick building: A man walks along Freedom Walkway in Rock Hill. © Allison Lee Isley for The Washington Post A man walks along Freedom Walkway in Rock Hill.

Anu Naryanswamy, Lenny Bronner and Alice Crites contributed to this report.

This Is How Jaime Harrison Pulls Off a Miracle and Ousts Lindsey Graham .
NORTH CHARLESTON, South Carolina—Jaime Harrison’s path to victory against Sen. Lindsey Graham lies along a roughly 20-mile stretch of road in South Carolina’s Lowcountry. The small town of Hollywood, where Harrison made the first of three campaign stops the Sunday before the Nov. 3 election, is tucked into a thick of woods that’s barely 30 minutes from Charleston but feels much farther away. In a field outside a community center, the Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate took to the stage, flanked by banners for Democratic nominee Joe Biden, to warm applause from a largely Black, elderly audience.

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