WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) - Jaime Harrison, the former 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.
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, a close Biden ally and the highest-ranking Black member of Congress.
Democratic Jaime Harrison speaks to supporters after conceding to his opponent, incumbent Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), on November 3, 2020 in Columbia, South Carolina. (Photo by Michael Ciaglo/Getty Images)
Harrison is also Black, giving Biden a boost in his pledge to assemble a racially and ethnically diverse Cabinet and leadership team.
"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.
He challenged Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham in 2020, drawing record sums of campaign contributions from across the country. But Graham, a close ally of President Donald Trump, ultimately won by nearly 10 percentage points, a margin fueled by strong turnout among the president's base. 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.