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Jaime Harrison

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Jaime Harrison
Jaime Harrison Launches U.S. Senate Campaign (cropped).png
Chair of the Democratic National Committee
Assumed office
January 21, 2021
Preceded byTom Perez
Chair of the South Carolina Democratic Party
In office
May 4, 2013 – April 29, 2017
Preceded byDick Harpootlian
Succeeded byTrav Robertson
Personal details
Born (1976-02-05) February 5, 1976 (age 45)
Orangeburg, South Carolina, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Marie Boyd
EducationYale University (BA)
Georgetown University (JD)
WebsiteCampaign website

Jaime R. Harrison (/ˈmi/; born February 5, 1976) is an American politician, who is the current chairman of the Democratic National Committee, after previously serving as the chair of the South Carolina Democratic Party from 2013 to 2017. Harrison ran against incumbent senator Lindsey Graham for the South Carolina U.S. Senate seat in the 2020 election.[1][2]

Early life and education

Harrison was born and raised in Orangeburg, South Carolina.[3] He was raised by his mother, Patricia Harrison, and his grandparents.[4] In 1994, he was selected to the United States Senate Youth Program. He attended Orangeburg-Wilkinson High School[5][3] and received a scholarship to Yale University, where he majored in political science.[4][3]

After graduating from Yale in 1998, Harrison worked as a teacher for a year at his former high school.[5] In 1999, he was appointed chief operating officer of College Summit, a non-profit organization that helps low-income youth find a path to college and career.[6][7] He earned his Juris Doctor from Georgetown University Law Center in 2004.[8]


After leaving College Summit, Harrison became involved in politics, working for Jim Clyburn as his director of floor operations while Clyburn was the Majority Whip of the United States House of Representatives.[9] Harrison went on to serve as executive director of the House Democratic Caucus and the vice chair of the South Carolina Democratic Party.[8] He later served as a lobbyist for the Podesta Group.[4][10] His clients at the Podesta Group included banks, such as Bank of America and Wells Fargo, Berkshire Hathaway,[11] pharmaceutical companies,[12] casinos, the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity, and Walmart,[13] among others.[14] In addition to lobbying work at Podesta Group, he has also lobbied on behalf of United Way Worldwide and the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities.[5]

In May 2013, Harrison became the chair of the South Carolina Democratic Party. He is the first African American to have served in this role.[4][15]

Democratic National Committee

2017 candidacy for Chair

Harrison declared his candidacy for chairperson of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) in the February 2017 election.[16][17] He defended his eight-year record at the Podesta Group, saying, "It's how I pay back the $160,000 of student loan debt."[18] Harrison ended his bid for DNC chair on February 23, 2017, and endorsed Tom Perez.[19]

Harrison accepted a position as associate chairman and counselor of the DNC, where he implemented a program called "Every ZIP Code Counts." The program supplied each state party with $10,000 per month so long as the state party did an analysis of its strengths and weaknesses for its internal operations.[20]

2021 election as Chair

Following President Joe Biden's victory in the 2020 presidential election, Harrison was nominated by Biden to be the Chair of the DNC, succeeding Tom Perez.[21] DNC members elected him on January 21, 2021.[22]

2020 U.S. Senate election

Harrison filed paperwork on February 7, 2019, to challenge Senator Lindsey Graham by running for his seat in the U.S. Senate in the 2020 election. No Democrat has won a statewide election in South Carolina since 2006.[23] Harrison launched his campaign on May 29, 2019.[2] Harrison won the Democratic nomination unopposed on June 9, 2020.[24]

Harrison and Graham participated in a debate with no audience that was hosted by Allen University on October 3, 2020.[25] A debate originally scheduled for October 9 was changed to feature separate, televised interviews after Graham refused to be tested for COVID-19 preceding the scheduled debate.[26]

In the third quarter of 2020, Harrison raised $57 million, the largest quarterly total by a U.S. Senate candidate ever, breaking Beto O'Rourke's record in the 2018 Texas election.[27] He also raised the most ever by a U.S. Senate candidate, beating another record set by O'Rourke.[28]

Harrison has called for expansion of Medicaid.[3] and expanded coronavirus relief.[3] During the 2020 Senate election, Harrison criticized his opponent Lindsey Graham for attempting to repeal the Affordable Care Act.[29] Harrison also supports the legalization of cannabis.[30]

Harrison lost the election to Lindsey Graham by over ten percentage points, garnering 44.2% of the vote compared to Graham's 54.5%.[31] The day after the election, Niall Stanage of The Hill stated that Harrison ran a spirited challenge but in the end, Graham "prevailed easily".[32]

Harrison broke U.S. Senate campaign fundraising records by raising $109 million.[33][34][35][36][37]

Electoral history

2020 United States Senate election in South Carolina
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Lindsey Graham (incumbent) 1,369,137 54.44%
Democratic Jaime Harrison 1,110,828 44.17%
Constitution Bill Bledsoe 32,845 1.30%
Write-in 2,294 0.09%
Total votes 2,515,104 100.00%

Personal life

Despite their political rivalry, Harrison is friends with Matt Moore, a former chairman of the South Carolina Republican Party. The two co-taught a course at the University of South Carolina during the fall semester of 2015.[38]

Harrison lives in Columbia, South Carolina with his wife Marie Boyd, a law professor, and their two sons.[9][39]

Harrison has prediabetes and has an aunt who died from COVID-19.[40]


  1. ^ Lovegrove, Jamie (February 7, 2019). "Former SC Democratic leader moves closer to challenging Sen. Lindsey Graham in 2020". Palmetto Politics. Retrieved February 10, 2019.
  2. ^ a b Barton, Tom (May 25, 2019). "SC Democrat Jaime Harrison launches US Senate campaign to challenge Lindsey Graham". The State.
  3. ^ a b c d e Harris, Adam (May 29, 2020). "Can Lindsey Graham Be Beat?". The Atlantic. Retrieved July 14, 2020.
  4. ^ a b c d Behre, Robert (May 3, 2013). "Harrison expected to lead Dems". Retrieved November 10, 2016.
  5. ^ a b c Tant, Lee (May 1, 2010). "D.C. lobbyist, former teacher stops by alma mater to encourage students". The Times and Democrat. Retrieved November 10, 2016.
  6. ^ "LCV Action Fund Endorses Jaime Harrison for Senate". League of Conservation Voters. (press release). December 17, 2019. Retrieved March 5, 2020.
  7. ^ Touchberry, Ramsey (October 3, 2019). "Who Is Jaime Harrison? Meet Lindsey Graham's Challenger Who Just Raised $2.1 Million. Newsweek. Retrieved March 5, 2020.
  8. ^ a b Martin, Jonathan (February 11, 2013). "Ex-Clyburn aide seeks S.C. Dem chair". Retrieved November 10, 2016.
  9. ^ a b Hendren, Lee (February 12, 2013). "Orangeburg native seeks chairmanship of S.C. Democrats". The Times and Democrat. Retrieved November 15, 2016.
  10. ^ "Harrison, Jaime R: Lobbyist Profile, 2009". Open Secrets.
  11. ^ "Lobbying Spending Database Harrison, Jaime R, 2010 | OpenSecrets". Retrieved February 26, 2017.
  12. ^ "Lobbying Spending Database Harrison, Jaime R, 2012 | OpenSecrets". Retrieved February 26, 2017.
  13. ^ "LD-2 Disclosure Form". Retrieved February 26, 2017.
  14. ^ "LD-2 Disclosure Form". Retrieved February 26, 2017.
  15. ^ "Harrison is voted new chairman of SC Democrats". The Times and Democrat. May 5, 2013. Retrieved November 15, 2016.
  16. ^ Wilks, Avery G. (October 21, 2016). "SC Democrats' Harrison a frontrunner for DNC chair?". The State. Retrieved November 10, 2016.
  17. ^ Coyne, Amanda (November 15, 2016). "SC Democratic Party Chairman Jaime Harrison running for DNC chair". The Greenville News. Retrieved November 15, 2016.
  18. ^ Dumain, Emma (November 14, 2016). "S.C. Democratic Party Chairman Jaime Harrison launches bid to run DNC". The Post And Courier. Retrieved December 5, 2016.
  19. ^ Kujawa, Dawn (February 23, 2017). "SC's Harrison drops bid for DNC chair". The State. Retrieved February 23, 2017.
  20. ^ Dumain, Emma (November 6, 2017). "Jaime Harrison knows how Democrats can win elections. Are Democrats listening?". The News & Observer. Retrieved February 8, 2019.
  21. ^ "Harrison selected as Biden's DNC chair". Politico. January 14, 2021. Retrieved January 14, 2021.
  22. ^ Merica, Dan (January 21, 2021). "Jaime Harrison officially elected Democratic National Committee chair". CNN. Retrieved February 13, 2021.
  23. ^ Dumain, Emma (February 7, 2019). "Jaime Harrison takes first official step to challenge Lindsey Graham for U.S. Senate". McClatchy. Retrieved February 10, 2019.
  24. ^ Lovegrove, Jamie (June 9, 2020). "Lindsey Graham wins SC GOP primary, will face Democrat Jaime Harrison in November". Post and Courier. Retrieved October 7, 2020.
  25. ^ Arkin, James. "Graham, Harrison spar over SCOTUS and Covid-19 in fiery Senate debate". POLITICO. Retrieved October 7, 2020.
  26. ^ "South Carolina US Senate debate changes format after Lindsey Graham refuses to take Covid-19 test". CNN. October 9, 2020. Retrieved October 11, 2020.
  27. ^ Arkin, James (October 11, 2020). "Jaime Harrison shatters Senate fundraising record for South Carolina race". POLITICO. Retrieved October 11, 2020.
  28. ^ "Jaime Harrison sets Senate fundraising record in race against Lindsey Graham". The Guardian. October 11, 2020. Retrieved October 11, 2020.
  29. ^ McCausland, Phil. "Health care sways South Carolina voters with medical debt and no insurance". NBC News. Retrieved July 14, 2020.
  30. ^ Angell, Tom (July 16, 2020). "Lindsey Graham Challenger Jaime Harrison Backs Legalizing Marijuana". Marijuana Moment. Retrieved July 25, 2020.
  31. ^ Graham fends off Harrison in South Carolina Senate race, Politico, November 3, 2020.
  32. ^ Stanage, Niall. Winners and losers from 2020's election, The Hill, Washington, DC, November 4, 2020. Retrieved November 26, 2020.
  33. ^
  34. ^ Touchberry, Ramsey (November 2, 2020). "If Jaime Harrison loses to Lindsey Graham, it will be the most expensive Senate race defeat in U.S. history". Newsweek. Retrieved February 13, 2021.
  35. ^ Connolly, Griffin (November 4, 2020). "Lindsey Graham wins in South Carolina — the most expensive Senate race in history". The Independent. Retrieved February 13, 2021.
  36. ^ Tindera, Michela (November 2, 2020). "Here Are The Billionaires Spending Big To Keep Lindsey Graham In The Senate". Forbes. Retrieved February 13, 2021.
  37. ^ Hughes, Siobhan; Wise, Lindsay (November 2, 2020). "Control of U.S. Senate Centers Around a Handful of GOP-Held Seats". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved February 13, 2021.
  38. ^ Landers, Elizabeth; Williams, Brenna (February 18, 2016). "Odd Couple: How a Republican and a Democrat became friends in South Carolina". CNN. Retrieved November 10, 2016.
  39. ^ "Marie C. Boyd – School of Law | University of South Carolina". Retrieved October 18, 2020.
  40. ^ Bustos, Joseph (October 9, 2020). "Graham, Harrison SC Senate debate changed to extended back-to-back interviews". The State. Retrieved October 10, 2020.

External links

Party political offices
Preceded by
Dick Harpootlian
Chair of the South Carolina Democratic Party
Succeeded by
Trav Robertson
Preceded by
Brad Hutto
Democratic nominee for U.S. Senator from South Carolina
(Class 2)

Most recent
Preceded by
Tom Perez
Chair of the Democratic National Committee
This page was last edited on 1 June 2021, at 17:44
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