Jan 14, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Biden picks Jaime Harrison to head Democratic National Committee


Photo: Michael Ciaglo/Getty Images

President-elect Biden has selected former South Carolina Senate candidate Jaime Harrison to chair the Democratic National Committee.

Why it matters: Harrison rose to national prominence while running in 2020 to unseat Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), a close ally of President Trump. The Democrat smashed the all-time Senate fundraising record by collecting $57 million in the third quarter of 2020, but he ultimately lost to Graham by 10 points.

  • House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.), whose endorsement of Biden before the South Carolina primary helped him secure the Democratic nomination, had pushed for the president-elect to choose Harrison to lead the DNC.
  • Harrison previously served as chair for the South Carolina Democratic Party and ran for the national committee role in 2016 before bowing out to Tom Perez.

The big picture: Harrison, who recently launched a PAC focused on long-term investments in areas seen as Democratic reaches, will be tasked with defending the Democrats' narrow majorities in the House and Senate in 2022.

  • "I’m humbled and excited that @JoeBiden has chosen me to lead @TheDemocrats," Harrison tweeted Thursday. "Together, we’ll organize everywhere, invest in state parties, expand the map, and elect Democrats who will be champions for the working people of this country."

Biden announced several other picks for DNC leadership on Thursday, including:

  • Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms for vice chair of civic engagement and voter protection
    • "I’m honored and humbled to be endorsed by @JoeBiden for Vice Chair of the @DNC," Bottoms tweeted. "I’m ready to build on our party’s progress to make a better future for all Americans."
  • Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, vice chair
  • Illinois Sen. Tammy Duckworth, vice chair
  • Texas Rep. Filemon Vela Jr., vice chair
    • "I am honored to have been selected by President-elect Biden to serve as Vice Chair ... to fight for equality and opportunity for all," Vela tweeted. "This election saw historic voter turnout, sending a clear message that the American people wanted new leadership."

What he's saying: “This group of individuals represent the very best of the Democratic Party,” Biden said in a press release Thursday. "Their stories and long histories of activism and work reflects our party’s values and the diversity that make us so strong."

Go deeper... Jaime Harrison: "We have to transform the Democratic Party"

Editor's note: This story has been updated to reflect Biden's official announcement of DNC leadership.

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