President-elect Joe Biden will select Jaime Harrison, the chair of the South Carolina Democratic Party, to head up the Democratic National Committee, and name Trump appointee David Norquist, the current deputy Defense Secretary, to run the department until Biden’s permanent nominee clears hurdles in his Senate confirmation process, according to multiple reports on Thursday.
Harrison, who shattered fundraising records in his failed run against Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham in South Carolina in November, is close with Rep. Jim Clyburn.
The House majority whip’s endorsement of Biden before the South Carolina primary in February boosted the former vice president in the Super Tuesday contests and helped pave the path toward his winning the Democratic nomination.
The DNC is expected to hold an election for its next chair at its Winter Meeting the day after Biden is inaugurated next Wednesday.
Current chair Tom Perez, who led the DNC as Democrats won back the House in 2018 and the White House last November, has said that he won’t seek another bid for a four-year term.
Winning the White House gives Biden particular clout over who will succeed Perez to lead the Democratic Party through what can be expected to be turbulent elections in the 2022 midterms, as Republicans fight to win back majorities in Congress.
Harrison hauled in $130 million in his bid to unseat Graham – the first Senate candidate to raise more than $100 million.
Meanwhile, Norquist will continue to run the Defense Department until Biden’s nominee, retired Army Gen. Lloyd Austin, tries to get a congressional waiver that would allow him to become Defense secretary.
According to the law, military officials are required to be a civilian for seven years before they can lead the Defense Department.
Austin retired in 2016.
President Trump’s first pick to run the department, Jim Mattis, a retired Marine general, received a waiver in 2017.
The Senate Armed Services Committee is expected to hold a confirmation hearing for Austin next Tuesday, a day before Biden is inaugurated.
With Post wires
Biden reportedly naming South Carolina’s Jaime Harrison head of DNC The British Journal Editors and Wire Services/ New York Post.