DemDaily: The New Leadership of the Democratic Party
January 22, 2021
With the inauguration of Joseph Biden and Kamala Harris, the business of the new Democratic Party also begins.
Yesterday, the 447 members of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) formally elected their new officers, headed by former South Carolina Party Chair, DNC officer, and 2020 US Senate candidate, Jaime Harrison.
|The Democratic National Committee (DNC) is the formal governing body for the Democratic Party, 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.|
As is the tradition when Democrats control the White House, the president recommends the slate of incoming officers, which often includes those who have been pivotal players in his election, and who reflect the face and diversity of his or her agenda.
The DNC's Winter Meeting, usually held in-person the day after inauguration, was conducted virtually due to the pandemic, with DNC members casting their ballots for officers for the 2021-2025 term electronically over three days.
The team leading the President's Party will play a critical role in defending the Democrats' narrow majorities in the House and Senate in the 2020 mid-term elections.
The New Leadership
DNC Chair: Jaime Harrison
The son of a single teenage mom, Harrison was raised by his grandparents 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.
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, Harrison 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.
"These battle-tested leaders know how to win, build a political operation that is second to none ... growing Democrats' infrastructure in every part of every state, standing up for the principles we believe in, and marshalling the full resources of the Democratic Party in support of the Biden-Harris administration." - DNC Chair Jaime Harrison
Vice Chair of Civic Engagement and Voter Protection: Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms
A lifelong public servant, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms is the only Mayor in Atlanta's history to have served in all three branches of government, serving as a judge and City Councilmember before being sworn in as Mayor in 2017.
In 2020, she was named Georgia Trend magazine's Georgian of the Year, and received the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights (LCCR) Under Law's Distinguished Civil Rights Advocate Award. The same year Bottoms was named one of Glamour's Women of the Year and one of BET's 100 Entertainer and Innovator of the Year recipients. Mayor Bottoms presided as Chair of the Platform Committee for the 2020 Democratic National Convention.
A native of Atlanta, she earned her undergraduate degree from Florida A&M University and her J.D. from Georgia State University. She resides in historic Southwest Atlanta with her husband, Derek W. Bottoms, their four children- Lance, Langston, Lennox and Lincoln, and their family dogs Ace and Zeus.Vice Chair: Governor Gretchen Whitmer
Governor Gretchen Whitmer is a lifelong Michigander and trailblazer who served as co-chair for President-elect Joe Biden's presidential campaign.
A graduate of Michigan State University and College of Law, she was elected to the Michigan House of Representatives in 2000 and elected to the Michigan Senate in 2006, where she became the first woman to serve as the Senate Democratic Leader.
Whitmer won her 2018 gubernatorial election with the highest number of votes that any governor has received in Michigan's history, in a key battleground state that Trump won by less than 1% in 2016. She has also earned a reputation as a tenacious Trump foe. Whitmer has been recognized nationally for her state's leading response to the coronavirus.
Vice Chair: Senator Tammy DuckworthIllinois US Senator Tammy Duckworth is an Iraq War Veteran and former Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs who was among the first handful of Army women to fly combat missions during Operation Iraqi Freedom.
A first-term Senator, Duckworth represented Illinois' 8th CD for two terms before unseating Senator Mark Kirk (R) in 2016. She is the first Thai-American woman elected to Congress and the first woman with a disability to be elected to Congress. A former US Army Lt. Colonel and Purple Heart recipient who lost both of her legs in Iraq, she also became the first senator to give birth while in office in 2018.Vice Chair: Congressman Filemon Vela Jr.
Congressman Filemon Vela has spent his career fighting for immigrant rights, servicemembers, and underserved communities, and has been an outspoken opponent to the construction of the Texas-Mexico border wall.
Vela was elected to Congress in 2012 to represent Texas' 34th District, which includes his home border town of Brownsville, Texas.
Vela, whose father was a US federal judge and his mother, Brownsville's first female mayor, earned his B.A. from Georgetown University and his J.D. from the University of Texas at Austin. His wife, Rose, is a former Court of Appeals Judge.
Sam Cornale will serve as the Executive Director of the Democratic National Committee. As DNC Deputy CEO, Cornale helped manage the DNC during the 2020 presidential campaign and 2018 midterms, and previously oversaw Tom Perez's 2017 campaign to chair the DNC.
Veteran Mary Beth Cahill will continue her service to the party as Senior Advisor.
Secretary: Jason RaeJason Rae made national news when, in 2004 at the age of 17, he became the youngest person ever elected to the DNC. He has since been re-elected three times and, in February 2017, was elected Secretary of the Democratic National Committee.
Rae also serves as a member of the DNC Executive and Rules & Bylaws Committee and previously served as the Chair of the DNC Youth Council from 2007 to 2017. Jason founded and currently serves as President & CEO for the Wisconsin LGBT Chamber of Commerce, an award-winning organization with more than 600 businesses members.
A graduate of Marquette University, he now lives in Glendale, Wisconsin with his husband Phillip, and is a partner at the Milwaukee-based public affairs firm Nation Consulting.
Treasurer: Virginia McGregor
A native of Scranton, Pennsylvania, Virginia McGregor served as Deputy National Finance Chair of the DNC and National Co-Chair of the DNC's Women's Leadership Forum through the 2020 elections.
A graduate of Holy Cross College, McGregor also attended the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.
National Finance Chair: Chris Korge
An attorney, retailer and real estate developer, Chris Korge has served as the elected National Finance Chairman for the Democratic National Committee since 2019.
Korge previously served as National Finance Chairman for Hillary Clinton for President, National Finance Vice-Chairman for the DNC, and Chairman of the Democratic Business Council for the DNC. He also served as a Trustee for the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee and Trustee of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
Korge, who lives in Miami, is also involved in numerous charitable activities, including serving on the Florida International University Foundation Board, and as Vice Chairman of the Urban League of Greater Miami.
The Association of State Democratic Chairs (ASDC), which is under the umbrella of the DNC, is focused exclusively on the interests of State Democratic Parties, providing them with training, resources and daily support. Their President is elected not by the full DNC membership, but by the State Chairs themselves.
Ken Martin, first elected as ASDC President in 2017, was unanimously reelected on Thursday by his peers across the country.
Martin, who has also been the elected Chairman of the Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor (DFL) Party since 2011, is the longest serving Chairman in the 75-year history of the DFL.
The Minnesota DFL has won every statewide election since Ken was elected Chairman, and under Martin's leadership, has become an all-day, year-round party dedicated to organizing communities, electing progressive candidates and improving the lives of Minnesotans.
Martin, a graduate of the University of Kansas, started his career as an intern in the office of the late Minnesota US Senator Paul Wellstone, and has dedicated his political career to Wellstone's principle that "we all do better, when we all do better."Martin lives in Eagan, Minnesota with his wife Jennifer O'Rourke and two sons, Samuel and James.
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