Biden Taps Former Senate Candidate Jaime Harrison for DNC Chair

Biden Taps Former Senate Candidate Jaime Harrison for DNC Chair
DNC Chairman Jaime Harrison speaks at a watch party in Columbia, S.C., on Nov. 3, 2020. (Richard Shiro/AP Photo)
Zachary Stieber

President-elect Joe Biden on Thursday announced he's choosing former Senate candidate Jaime Harrison to be the next Democratic National Committee (DNC) chair.

Harrison, 44, failed to unseat Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) in the 2020 election. He chaired the South Carolina Democratic Party for four years starting in 2013. He's currently an associate chairman for the DNC.

Harrison in a statement said he was "humbled and excited" to be picked by Biden.

"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," he said.

Graham congratulated Harrison, writing in a tweet that "I’m confident he will do a good job representing the Democratic cause." Current DNC Chair Tom Perez said Harrison would "do an incredible job building on the progress we've made and strengthening our party."

Biden also picked several vice chairs, including Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), and Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

The DNC will vote for its officers next week. Voting closes on Jan. 21 at noon. Members can choose officers who weren't picked by Biden.

 President-elect Joe Biden speaks in Wilmington, Del., on Jan. 14, 2021. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)
President-elect Joe Biden speaks in Wilmington, Del., on Jan. 14, 2021. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

“This group of individuals represent the very best of the Democratic Party,” Biden said in a statement.

“Their stories and long histories of activism and work reflects [sic] our party’s values and the diversity that make us so strong. As our country faces multiple crises from systemic racism to the COVID-19 pandemic, working families in America need and deserve real leadership. We need to elect Democrats across our country and up and down the ballot. To do that is going to take tireless leadership, committed to strengthening Democratic infrastructure across our states. These leaders are battle-tested and ready for this immense task. I know they will get the job done.”

Incoming White House deputy chief of staff Jen O’Malley Dillon, who chaired Biden's campaign, called the slate "battle-tested" and "brilliant."

“These leaders know what we need to do to ensure the party is strong, inclusive, and continues to expand our coalition of support across the states—because that’s how we’ll continue winning races and electing leaders at every level who will build America back better," she added.

Ronna McDaniel was reelected as the Republican National Committee chair last week.

If Harrison wins the vote, he'll take over a party that won the White House and the Senate but suffered over a dozen losses in House races, cutting into the party's majority.

Republicans are already looking towards the 2022 midterms, expressing confidence they'll flip both congressional chambers before taking back the presidency two years later.
"Over the next two years, the Democrats are going to try to do a whole bunch of things that the public doesn’t want. They don’t want packing the Supreme Court. They don’t want higher taxes and more regulation. They don’t want the police defunded. I think the Democrats now have the ability to go do some things," Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.), the newly elected National Republican Senatorial Committee chair, told Fox News.

"I think it’s going to help define them and I think it’s going to help us have a big win in 2022."

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