Jaime Harrison says he’s open to accepting DNC chair, if offered

While his high-profile bid to unseat Sen. Lindsay Graham was unsuccessful, Harrison was able to outraise him.

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Former South Carolina Senate candidate Jaime Harrison is expressing his interest in becoming the next chairman of the Democratic National Committee. 

Harrison broke fundraising records in his race to defeat incumbent Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham. While the high-profile bid was unsuccessful on Nov. 3, Harrison became a national star because he was able to outraise Graham. 

Over $200 million was spent, making theirs one of the most expensive races in Senate history. Harrison raised $57 million in three months, from July through September.

Democratic Senate candidate Jaime Harrison thanks his supporters after conceding to his opponent, incumbent Sen. Lindsey Graham, in Columbia, South Carolina last Tuesday night. (Photo by Michael Ciaglo/Getty Images)

Harrison’s charm and fundraising skills make him an attractive prospect to helm the DNC, of which he has served as associate chairman. The idea is supported by House Majority Whip James E. Clyburn, who feels that Harrison, a former lobbyist and chairman of the South Carolina Democratic Party, can confidently handle the job. 

“I can’t betray any conversations with Whip, but I know that it’s something that he seems to think that I could do. I’d put it that way,” Harrison told The Washington Post. 

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After losing his Senate bid, 44-year-old Harrison may have his pick of jobs either at the DNC or within the new presidential administration. 

“If that’s something that they are interested in me doing, I’ll definitely take a good look,” said Harrison. “Got to weigh it all with my wife.”

Harrison joked that after his defeat, he has “a lot of time” on his hands. 

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Current DNC chair Tom Perez has expressed his intention in stepping down. Both Harrison and former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams have been floated as potential replacements. 

Veteran Democratic strategist James Carville also supports the idea of Harrison taking the leadership position. 

“The guy has charisma, he has celebrity, he can raise money,” said Carville. “Blacks have been an integral part of Biden’s coalition since the beginning. I don’t know the case against him.”

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While Harrison was not successful in his first campaign to reach the U.S. Senate, his race has made South Carolina a more viable Democratic state than previously considered. While it stayed red in support of President Donald Trump, record voter turnout demonstrates a strong Democratic pushback. 

Graham prevailed over him Nov. 3 by about 10 percentage points, but Harrison’s fundraising and spending had a strong impact on Democratic candidates further down the ballot, which included a House of Representatives seat that flipped for the first time since 1986. 

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