President-elect Joe Biden also names Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms and Texas U.S. Rep. Filemon Vela as vice chairs
♦By Rich Shumate, ChickenFriedPolitics.com
WASHINGTON (CFP) — Two months after coming up short in a $130-million quest to flip a U.S. Senate seat in South Carolina, Jaime Harrison has been picked by President-elect Joe Biden to be the next chair of the Democratic National Committee.
Biden also named Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms and U.S. Rep. Filemon Vela of Texas as two of four vice chairs of the party, putting Southerners in three key positions atop a party that made some headway in 2020 after struggling for relevance in the region.
In a statement, Biden said the new team leaders “represent the very best of the Democratic Party.”
“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,” he said. “I know they will get the job done.”
Reacting to his selection on Twitter, Harrison said he was “humbled and excited” by his selection.
“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,” he said.
While the selections of Harrison, Bottoms and Vela will still have to be ratified by the full national committee, Democrats have traditionally allowed incoming presidents to have full control of party leadership.
Harrison, 44, a former aide to House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn of South Carolina, served as chair of the Palmetto State’s Democratic Party from 2013 to 2017, before making an unsuccessful run for national DNC chair.
Last year, he ran against Republican U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham, raising and spending more than $130 million on the race by building a nationwide fundraising network. But despite some polling showing the race to be close, Graham beat him by more than 10 points in November.
Biden’s selection of Harrison had been expected after Clyburn, a key backer of Biden during last year’s South Carolina primary, endorsed his candidacy.
Bottoms, in her first term as mayor, will lead the DNC’s efforts in civic engagement and voter protection. She had also been a Biden surrogate during the campaign and was given consideration as his vice presidential running mate.
Vela, who represents the Rio Grande Valley in Congress, was another early Biden backer. He had reportedly been considered for a post in the new Cabinet but was not selected.
Neither Bottoms or Vela will have to give up their elected post to serve as DNC vice chairs.