DemDaily: Our Next Party Leader

 December 9, 2016
While the country recovers from the Presidential election, Democrats are focusing on their own internal race - that for Chair of the Democratic National Committee.
The Job
The new Chair has his (all announced candidates are male) cut out for him as the leading voice of opposition to the new reality of a Republican White House, Senate and House. In addition to being the party's primary fundraiser and strategist, he will also need to craft a path to victory for the 2018 midterms and 2020 presidential election.
The new DNC Chair will replace interim Chair Donna Brazile who stepped in following the resignation of
Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz (FLA) after the Democratic Convention.
The Process
There are 447 DNC members, a quarter of the which are state level Chairs and Vice Chairs, and the remainder elected at the state level.

DNC members will cast ballots for the party chair during the next DNC meeting the weekend of February 23-26 in Atlanta, Georgia. To be elected as DNC Chair a simple majority of 224 votes is required.

The Candidates
Congressman Keith Ellison

Minnesota Congressman Keith Ellison is currently considered the leading contender for the job with the endorsements of key elected officials, including Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (NV), Senators Chuck Schumer (NY), Bernie Sanders (VT) and Elizabeth Warren (MA), as well as the support of 20 fellow Members of Congress and a list of state and local party, union and organizational leaders.

Ellison, 53, was re-elected to his sixth term in Congress in November and serves as Co-Chair of the Progressive Caucus and sits on the House Financial Services and House Democratic Steering Committees. The first Muslim to be elected to Congress, he also served in the State Legislature from 2003 to 2007.
Under pressure from DNC members who have called for the new Chair to be a full-time leader, Ellison has agreed to resign from Congress if he wins the race.  His Congressional District is considered one of the most liberal seats in Congress and a successor is almost guaranteed to be a Democrat.
Ellison has come under attack for his early association with Nation of Islam in the '90s, but long ago distanced himself from the organization disavowing its "anti-Semitism, homophobia and ... chauvinistic model of manhood." 

South Carolina Democratic Party Chair Jaime Harrison
Harrison, 40, is a lawyer, lobbyist and long-time political operative with Hill and state political experience. Considered a moderate, he would be the youngest DNC chair in the party's history if elected.
He has served as Chair of the South Carolina Democratic Party since 2013, and was also the first African-American to be elected to the position in the Palmetto state.
Harrison has the endorsement of House Assistant Minority Leader Congressman Jim Clyburn (SC) who praised him as having "the experience, vision, and commitment to rebuild our party and to return us to victory on national, state, and local levels."
A former policy advisor for Clyburn from 2003 to 2005, he also worked in Congress as executive director for the House Democratic Caucus and Floor Director and Counsel for Clyburn when he was Majority Whip.
A transportation lobbyist since 2008 for the Podesta Group, founded  by Hillary Clinton Campaign Chair John Podesta and his brother Tony Podesta, Harrison has taken a leave of absence while running for DNC Chair.
New Hampshire Democratic Party Chair Ray Buckley
Ray Buckley, 57, is a former 8-term state legislator and current Chair of the New Hampshire Democratic Party, President of the Association of State Democratic Chairs (ASDC), and Vice Chair of the Democratic National Committee.
Buckley, who is a veteran of the "party trenches," has served as NH Party Chair since 2007 and is credited with turning New Hampshire blue.  The "the first all-female, all-Democratic congressional delegation in our country's history," the state's US Senator,Jeanne Shaheen, Governor and Senator-elect Maggie Hassan, Congresswoman Ann Kuster and Congresswoman-elect Carol Shea-Porter sent a letter to DNC Members endorsing Buckley.
Buckley, who would become the first openly gay leader of a national party, has expressed openness to a bifurcated chairmanship structure where two chairs run the national party committee, which was done in the 1990s.
In an appeal to fellow DNC Members, Buckley called for a return to grassroots and "radical reform of how the DNC operates ...Every voice should be respected, every face reflected in the Democratic Party. The party cannot just be about winning the White House. We have thousands of other races, including state, county and local races, that we need to win as well."
Other Candidates
Former Vermont Governor and past DNC Chair (2005-2009) Howard Dean, who originally placed his name in contention, dropped out last week.  Others rumored to be considering a run include NARAL President Ilyse Hogue, EMILY's List President Stephanie Schriock and current Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez.
DemList will keep you posted!
Connecting you to The Party
Connecting you to Each Other
Kimberly Scott
Sources: Star Tribune, Wikipedia, Roll Call, Politico, WMUR

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