Former South Carolina Senate candidate Jaime Harrison said on Tuesday that he would be “all in” if asked to lead the Democratic National Committee, in an effort to reshape a party that failed to make key gains in races earlier this month.
“We have to transform the Democratic Party. We can't just be a political organization, we have to be a community-based organization,” says former South Carolina Senate candidate @harrisonjaime. https://t.co/15Xd1lpH2o pic.twitter.com/RZAf2P5jD2
— New Day (@NewDay) November 24, 2020
When asked about his interest in leading the DNC, Harrison said “I‘m all in. So, if it’s the DNC, call my number and I will be there.”
“We have to rebuild and revitalize this party,” Harrison told CNN’s John Berman during an interview on Tuesday morning. “We have to transform the Democratic Party. We can’t just be a political organization, we have to be a community-based organization.”
The comments come as Democrats hitch their hopes to winning Senate majority by nabbing both seats in Georgia’s runoffs on Jan. 5, a steep climb, after losing key Senate races earlier this month in Kentucky, South Carolina (Harrison’s own race) and Alabama.
Harrison, who lost his race in South Carolina against incumbent Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), is committed to fighting that battle and announced that he would be launching a political action committee called “Dirt Road PAC” that seized on the momentum he had built as a record-breaking fundraiser to achieve it.
Harrison said the ‘dirt road’ symbolized broken promises from both Democrats and Republicans who had fallen behind in their commitments to improve infrastructure in rural communities where key reservoirs of voters live.
“I believe that those are the people that Democrats need to come out, those are the folks who are jaded right now with this political process and we have to rebuild their trust, that we are the party that’s going to fight for them,” Harrison said.
Harrison, who has served as an associate chairman of the DNC, ran for DNC chairman after the 2016 election. After dropping out of that race, he backed Tom Perez, the current chair who is not expected to stay on.
Harrison, who has the support of longtime Biden ally House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-SC), is well-positioned for the role after becoming the first-ever U.S. Senate candidate to raise more than $100 million. Those efforts forced his opponent, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), to play catch up to secure his fourth term in what became the most expensive Senate race in history.
Harrison said the new PAC would kick off in Georgia, focusing on grassroots efforts to reel in support especially among rural populations with the hopes of ultimately flipping more of the traditionally red state which entered battleground status this year to blue. Those efforts would then be extended into Virginia and elsewhere into 2021.
“We’re going to go to purple states and red states and focus on a long-term effort in terms of building a foundation for Democrats to win,” Harrison said.