Politics & Government

Clyburn offers boost for South Carolina Democratic chairman’s national bid

Rep. Jim Clyburn, the third-ranking House Democrat, is squarely behind South Carolina Democratic Chairman Jaime Harrison’s bid for national party chairman, and letting colleagues know it.

Clyburn, D-S.C., send a lengthy email to Democratic National Committee members Wednesday urging them to back Harrison, who will vie with at least three others to head the DNC. The vote is scheduled for February.

Clyburn took a subtle dig at Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., who has strong backing from Sen. Bernie Sanders, Ind.-Vt., and some Democratic congressional leaders.

“Our next DNC chair must work full time to rebuild our party,” Clyburn said.

Also seeking the job are Howard Dean, former governor of Vermont and DNC chairman, and Raymond Buckley, New Hampshire Democratic chairman. They’ll appear before state chairs Friday at a forum in Denver.

We need someone who understands, appreciates, and values the diversity of our party

Rep. Jim Clyburn, D-S.C., on South Carolina Democratic Chairman Jaime Harrison’s bid for national party chairman

In the email, Clyburn recounted how Harrison, an Orangeburg, S.C., native, “was born to a teenage mother who dropped out of school when he was born. Orangeburg is a small, rural town in my congressional district, which boasts two historically black colleges, including my alma mater, but where the opportunities for many local residents are few.

“Fortunately, Jaime was reared in a loving home, where his grandparents of modest means, along with his mother, instilled in him strong values, the importance of hard work and service to others.”

Clyburn first met Harrison in 1993, when Harrison was a high school student. He later interned in Clyburn’s office. In Washington, he went on to become executive director of the House Democratic Caucus, and when Clyburn became House Majority Whip in 2007, Harrison become a top staffer.

“Jaime’s experiences have made him adept at connecting with people at all levels – from South Carolina fish fries and Maryland crab boils to the hallowed halls of our finest colleges and universities,” Clyburn wrote. “Jaime is well regarded by many of my colleagues here and by Democrats from around the country. We need someone who understands, appreciates, and values the diversity of our party. Jaime Harrison is pitch-perfect for the job.”

David Lightman: 202-383-6101, @lightmandavid

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