Jaime Harrison Tapped to Head the Democratic National Committee
President-Elect Joe Biden has selected former South Carolina Democratic Senate Candidate Jaime Harrison to be the chairman of the Democratic National Committee, multiple news outlets reported on Thursday.
Harrison will replace Tom Perez, who prior to being the first Black man to lead the DNC was secretary of labor during President Barack Obama’s second term.
Harrison headed the South Carolina Democratic Party from 2013-2017 and is a fundraising juggernaut. His campaign to unseat incumbent Republican Senator Lindsey in the 2020 election cycle raked in more than $57 million – the most ever for a United States Senate race.
Although Democrats have retaken control of the House of Representatives, the Senate, and the White House, the party’s future in national politics – particularly in local races in rural districts – remains uncertain.
But Harrison’s crowdsourcing prowess, along with his close relationship to House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-SC), has top DNC officials excited about the future.
“There were tensions between the state chairs and Chairman Perez,” Jane Kleeb, the chair of the Nebraska Democratic Party, told Buzzfeed. “That relationship got better over time. But it will start out as a good, positive relationship already now, because Jaime has been in our shoes and he understands that state chairs are the backbone of the party.”
Harrison “knows how to talk to people, and not in a robotic, here’s-a-list-of-talking-points, I’m-going-to-now-sound-like-I’m-totally-out-of-touch-and-not-relate-to-anybody way,” Kleeb said. “He knows how to talk as a dad, as a southern Democrat, as a rural Democrat.”
Harrison’s ascent also aligns with substantial inroads that Democrats are making in crimson southern states, such as Georgia, whose two Senate seats – both held by Republicans – were added to the Democratic tally in a special runoff election on January 5th.