Biden taps Jaime Harrison to serve as Democratic chairman


FILE – In this Oct. 17, 2020, file photo then-Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Jaime Harrison speaks at a campaign rally in North Charleston, S.C. Harrison, the failed South Carolina Senate candidate and longtime Democratic Party official, is President-elect Joe Biden’s choice to lead the national party, according to multiple party officials. (AP Photo/Meg Kinnard, File)

WILMINGTON, Del. (NewsNation Now) — President-elect Joe Biden is set to pick Jaime Harrison, former South Carolina Senate candidate, to lead the national party, according to multiple party officials.

Harrison is expected to be elected without any significant opposition when the Democratic National Committee convenes next Thursday in a virtual session, a day after Biden is inaugurated. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because the decision hasn’t been announced.

The 44-year-old comes to the job with strong support from state party chairs around the country and from House Minority Whip Jim Clyburn, the highest-ranking Black member of Congress, whom Harrison worked for in D.C.

FILE PHOTO: Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Jaime Harrison holds a drive-in campaign rally at Wilson High School in Florence, South Carolina, U.S. October 24, 2020. REUTERS/Sam Wolfe/File Photo

“Everyone cleared the field for Jaime,” said Texas Democratic Chairman Gilberto Hinojosa. “Everybody was supportive of this. The state parties really felt it was important to get somebody like Jaime because of the importance of ensuring the national committee keeps strengthening state parties.”

Harrison served previously as South Carolina Democratic Party chairman. He ran for DNC chair in 2017, when Tom Perez was elected to become the party’s first Latino chairman. Perez has said he would not seek to serve another term.

Harrison challenged Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham in 2020 — amassing a stunning $109 million war chest from campaign contributions across the country. But Graham, ultimately won by nearly 10 percentage points.

A Yale University and Georgetown Law graduate who tells often of growing up in poverty in South Carolina, Harrison first rose to prominence in working on Capitol Hill in Clyburn’s whip office.

In November’s election, Democrats managed to hold their majority in the U.S. House of Representatives and won a razor-thin majority (with Vice President-elect Kamala Harris yielding a tie-breaking vote) in the U.S. Senate after winning two runoff votes last week in Georgia. Looking ahead, the party must next prepare for midterm elections in 2022.

The Associated Press’ Bill Barrow and Reuter’s Jarrett Renshaw contributed to this report.

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