President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. plans to name Jaime Harrison as his choice to lead the Democratic National Committee, as part of an effort to strengthen the committee ahead of what is already expected to be midterm elections for the gone, according to two of those familiar with the selection.
Former chairman of the South Carolina Democratic Party, Mr Harrison became a national political star last year by breaking fundraising records in his race against re-elected Senator Lindsey Graham. While Mr Harrison lost in November, garnering 44 percent of the vote to Mr Graham’s 55 percent, he developed a broad bench of support across the party.
He is also well known to DNC staff and members, due to his work as the head of the South Carolina state party and his failed bid for the committee chair in 2017 (Tom Perez, Past President of the DNC, won that race.) Mr. Harrison was defended by Rep. Jim Clyburn of South Carolina, an influential ally of Biden who helped the president-elect win the main race in the state of origin of Mr. Clyburn. Mr Perez has chosen not to run for a second term.
New presidents traditionally take control of party committees, installing their own president and employees. Former President Barack Obama has chosen to try to establish his own political operation outside of the committee, a move that many DNC members say has damaged state parties and led to years of dysfunction at the national level.
Far more institutionalist of the party, Biden has promised to rebuild state parties and deepen investments in the committee.
The focus on the party’s national committee comes as Democrats attempt to navigate a deeply uncertain political landscape. Even before the attack on the U.S. Capitol clouded U.S. policy, Democrats anticipated tough midterm races in the House and Senate in 2022 and the lingering possibility that Mr. Biden – who will become the longest-serving president of the United States. US history Wednesday – decides not to run for second term.