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Jaime Harrison says he'd consider DNC chair if offered

Jaime Harrison says he'd consider DNC chair if offered
© MSNBC

South Carolina Democrat Jaime Harrison expressed interest in chairing the Democratic National Committee (DNC) Tuesday after his profile skyrocketed during his challenge to Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamSenate holds longest vote in history as Democrats scramble to save relief bill Biden helps broker Senate deal on unemployment benefits Senate braces for 'God-awful,' 'stupid' session ahead of COVID-19 relief vote MORE (R).

Harrison told The Washington Post in an interview that he was open to the prospect of helming the DNC and that he has the support of House Majority Whip Jim ClyburnJames (Jim) Enos ClyburnHouse Democratic leaders back Shalanda Young for OMB after Tanden withdrawal Clyburn reintroduces legislation to close 'Charleston loophole' Gun violence prevention groups optimistic background check legislation can pass this Congress MORE (D-S.C.), a powerful figure in the lower chamber and a South Carolina kingmaker.

“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 said.

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Current DNC Chair Tom PerezThomas PerezClinton’s top five vice presidential picks Government social programs: Triumph of hope over evidence Labor’s 'wasteful spending and mismanagement” at Workers’ Comp MORE is not anticipated to stay in the role, and President-elect Biden, as leader of the party, can pick Perez’s replacement. Harrison said he has not spoken with Biden about the role about would consider it if an offer was extended.

“If that’s something that they are interested in me doing, I’ll definitely take a good look,” said Harrison.

Spokespeople for Harrison and Clyburn did not immediately respond to requests for comment from The Hill. The DNC also did not respond to an inquiry.

The support of Clyburn could boost Harrison’s chances of landing the job. The majority whip was crucial in reviving Biden’s flagging presidential campaign early in the primary season and is believed to retain significant sway with the former vice president. 

Harrison is a former lobbyist and chairman of the South Carolina Democratic Party, and he ran to chair the DNC in 2016, ultimately dropping out and throwing his support behind Perez.

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But the South Carolina Democrat gained national attention in the 2020 cycle during his Senate run against Graham. While he ultimately lost by about 10 points, he raised a record-shattering amount of money and gained clout with national party figures who noted the buzz around his longshot campaign. 

Harrison told The Post that other Democrats have reached out to him about potentially succeeding Perez. 

“The past few days, I’ve got a lot of text messages from folks, who are like, I heard Mr. Clyburn or I heard James Carville mention you,” he said. “Listen, I’m flattered. But you know, at the end of the day it’s about who the president-elect decides to be the next chair.”