Jaime Harrison’s fundraising prowess and the national visibility he built during his challenge for Lindsey Graham’s Senate seat in the last election has landed him President-elect Joe Biden’s endorsement for the chairmanship of the Democratic National Committee.
Biden has tapped Harrison to head the DNC in hopes that he can help the party make more inroads in states that have been Republican strongholds, reports the New York Times.
Though Harrison lost his bid against Graham in South Carolina, his record-breaking fundraising numbers and debate performances cemented him as a political force to watch. We recognized Harrison on our 2020 The Root 100 list, and Democratic leaders were also watching his rise.
From the Times:
Mr. Harrison was favored by state party leaders, who saw him as an ally in their effort to keep the committee focused on rebuilding local party infrastructure. After Mr. Biden’s election, dozens of state party chairs and vice chairs sent a letter to his transition team that did not name Mr. Harrison but listed a number of qualities that matched his experience and skills.
“We’re convinced that he not only believes in the organizing principle of state parties but that he will be a very loud voice with the Biden administration,” said Jane Kleeb, the chair of the Nebraska Democratic Party.
The focus on the national party committee comes as Democrats try to navigate a deeply uncertain electoral landscape. Even before the attack on the U.S. Capitol scrambled American politics, Democrats anticipated difficult House and Senate midterm races in 2022 and the lingering possibility that Mr. Biden—who will become the oldest president in the country’s history on Wednesday—may decide not to run for a second term.
Harrison himself appears to be thinking ahead to midterm elections. Harrison said on Thursday he was humbled and excited to take on the mantle at the DNC, and added that he is “ready to invest in every ZIP code to elect candidates that know and represent their communities.”
Biden has also endorsed Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms for Vice Chair of Civic Engagement and Voter Protection at the DNC.
“We need to elect Democrats across our country and up and down the ballot,” Biden said of his picks, according to The Hill. “These leaders are battle-tested and ready for this immense task. I know they will get the job done.”
While the President-elect is moving forward with his promise to maintain a diverse coalition as he leads the Democratic party into a term of national political leadership, it’s also clear he wants them to net more wins.