DemDaily: Poised to Lead the Party

January 17, 2021

Last week President-elect Joseph Biden announced his recommendaton for the next Democratic National Committee Chair -- former South Carolina Party Chair and recent US Senate candidate Jaime Harrison.

Amid the excitement of the inaugural, and the excoriation of our outgoing President, the election of the next Democratic National Committee Chair and officers has become a footnote in the upcoming series of events this week.

Biden enters office facing multiple crises, from the aftermath of the violent insurrection at the Capitol, to rebuilding a country and economy devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic. While they may be overshadowed by the daunting agenda before the new administration, the team that will lead the President's party will play a critical role in defending the Democrats' narrow majorities in the House and Senate in 2022.

Unlike the heavily contested 2017 race for DNC Chairmanship after Republicans took the White House, the chair and slate of officers for the new Democratic administration are essentially annointed by the President-elect.

The Democratic National Committee
The Democratic National Committee (DNC) is the formal governing body for the Democratic Party. Founded in 1848, the DNC is the longest running political organization in history.

Biden's pick for DNC Chair, Jaime Harrison (Michael Ciaglo/Getty)

The DNC is responsible for establishing and promoting the Democratic Party principles, and coordinating strategy and activity to support the election of Democratic candidates at the local, state, and national levels. It organizes the Democratic National Convention, held every four years to nominate a candidate for President, and formulates the party's official platform.

DNC Leadership
The Party's nine national officers are officially elected by the 447 elected or appointed members of the Party every four years.

Next Thursday the DNC will hold its Winter meeting, where members will vote for officers for the 2021-2025 term. Due to COVID safety concerns, DNC members will cast their ballots for chair and the other officers by electronic ballot over three days, with the vote closing at noon on January 21st.

"Their stories and long histories of activism and work reflect our party's values and the diversity that make us so strong. 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." -- Joseph Biden 1/14/21

As DNC Chair, Jaime Harrison will lead a diverse team that includes some of President Biden's strongest campaign advocates and surrogates.

The 2017 DNC Winter meeting in Atlanta (KimberlyScott/DemList)

Nominated DNC Officers
DNC Chair: Jaime HarrisonVice Chair of Civic Engagement and Voter Protection: Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms (GA)
Vice Chair: Governor Gretchen Whitmer (MI)
Vice Chair: Senator Tammy Duckworth (IL)
Vice Chair: Congressman Filemon Vela Jr. (TX)
Secretary: Jason Rae (WI)
Treasurer: Virginia McGregor (PA)
National Finance Chair: Chris Korge (FL)
President, Association of State Democratic Chairs: TBD

Harrison, an attorney, lobbyist and former state and national Democratic Party officer, said he was "humbled and excited that Joe Biden chose me" to lead the Democratic Party. "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."

The son of a single teenage mom, Harrison was raised by his grandparents in the shadow of poverty in Orangeburg, South Carolina. The product of a public school education, he received a scholarship to Yale University, earning his B.A. in Political Science in 1998 and his J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center in 2004.

Jaime and wife Marie Boyd, a law professor, live in Columbia, South Carolina with their two sons (Twitter)

After college, Jaime came back home to Orangeburg to teach at his old high school, then worked to help empower disadvantaged children to attend college.

He went on to work for Congressman Jim Clyburn (D-SC), who remains a close mentor and ally, before joining the Podesta Group, a lobbying firm, where he represented clients in the transportation, financial and pharmaceutical sectors.

In 2013, Harrison became the South Carolina Democratic Party's first African-American chair, and in 2016, Associate Chair and Legal Counsel of the Democratic National Committee.

In 2020, Jaime unsuccessfully challenged Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, building a national grassroots movement while setting the record for the most funds ever raised by a US Senate candidate, at close to $133 million.

The DNC's Winter Meeting will be held virtually on January 21, 2021 at 4:00pm EST.

DemList will keep you informed.

Connecting you to The Party
Connecting you to Each Other

Kimberly Scott

Go to the DemList Presidential Inaugural Calendar for details on all official and unofficial inaugural events this week.

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Sources: DNC, Axios,, NPR

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