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About 70 state party chairs and vice chairs sent a letter to Biden’s transition team in November that, while not naming him, listed a series of qualities that all “matched Jaime’s resume and experience,” as one of them put it.

Those party chiefs view Harrison as one of their own, a former state committee chair who will lead a decentralized DNC and advocate for plowing money into organizing at the state level — a departure, they hope, from how the party was managed under former President Barack Obama.

Harrison’s pick was something of a foregone conclusion, with DNC members viewing him as the frontrunner for months and no viable challenger emerging. POLITICO reported Wednesday that he was expected to assume the role.

His ascension to the top of the DNC is a sign of the growing clout of the South in the Democratic Party, which is likely to expand further after the Georgia elections of Sens.-elect Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff.

But it’s also a sign of the influence wielded by Clyburn, a South Carolina congressman and top Biden ally who helped revive the president-elect’s 2020 campaign by endorsing him before his state’s primary.

Clyburn pushed for Harrison both publicly and behind the scenes, including by speaking to Biden about the position. Harrison previously was a staffer for Clyburn.

Biden and his team were exceedingly close with the DNC during his presidential run, with staffers in both operations joining each other’s conference calls and their respective leadership frequently coordinating on field troops and messaging. Harrison’s pick was something of a foregone conclusion, with DNC members viewing him as the frontrunner for months and no viable challenger emerging.

“Jaime will ensure all 57 state parties and territories have the funding we need to not only win elections but to also build up the infrastructure we need to organize year-round,” said Jane Kleeb, chair of the Nebraska Democratic Party. “We cannot afford to be a party that parachutes in resources at the last minute.”

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Tina Podlodowski, chair of the Washington Democratic Party, said “all of us are excited” about Harrison and as “a former state party chair, he obviously understands the issues that we need to deal with.”

DNC members will vote for their chair and the other positions between Jan. 18 and Jan. 21 on an electronic ballot due to concerns about Covid-19. When Democrats win the White House, this vote is typically a formality that ratifies the president-elect’s choices.

One of the challenges facing the party in the years ahead will be raising money without President Donald Trump in office to mobilize donors. Harrison, who unsuccessfully challenged Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) last year, has shown a knack for fundraising. During his Senate run, he brought in $131 million, a record for a candidate for the chamber.

But some Democrats have questioned whether his ability to reap big sums while running against a leading boogeyman on the left will translate to fundraising for the DNC. Democrats will also face an uphill battle in the 2022 elections, when the party that controls the White House typically suffers losses.

“Of course we want to help President Biden, but the House and Senate and the governors races in 2022 are going to be the major focus of the DNC,” said Carol Fowler, a longtime Democratic official in South Carolina who is close with Harrison, acknowledging the fundraising challenges for the party in power. “Jamie can do it. He can get it done. Those of us who know him know he’ll be an exceptional leader and his focus will be on those races.”


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Trump’s last national security advisor to return to LA law firm

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Robert O’Brien, who was former President Donald Trump’s last national security advisor, is rejoining the law firm he co-founded in Los Angeles, according to a person familiar with the matter.

O’Brien recently moved back to LA and is returning to Larson LLP, a litigation firm, with around 30 lawyers, that he started in 2016 with former federal judge Stephen G. Larson. O’Brien will be Of Counsel to the firm and will have an international practice on arbitration. Last month, the Nixon Foundation announced that O’Brien would co-chair its foundation’s monthly foreign policy seminar with former Secretaries of State Mike Pompeo and Henry Kissinger.

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O’Brien, who arguably had the lowest public profile of Trump’s four national security advisors, prioritized focusing on America’s geostrategic competition with China and also worked on the Abraham Accords and economic normalization between Serbia and Kosovo, among other foreign policy issues. A fierce advocate on television for Trump’s policies, he also downsized the NSC’s staff. He also drew negative attention in two inspector general complaints filed by whistleblowers.


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The Democrats who could take Cuomo’s place

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Sen. Alessandra Biaggi or another state legislator

Why they can win: Democrats have an extremely deep bench in the state Legislature. Dozens of their 150 members are more viable than state Sen. George Pataki was 20 months before the 1994 election, when he beat Mario Cuomo, and it’s certainly possible that some unexpected rank-and-file member will launch a serious campaign.

The two legislators who are mentioned most often are Biaggi and state Sen. Jessica Ramos. Both are part of the young freshman class that helped their party take an operative majority in their chamber in 2018. And both would have a good chance at winning the support of the Ocasio-Cortez wing of the party. Biaggi has already been acting like a primary candidate, spending recent weeks at the forefront of opposition to the Cuomo administration.

One wild card: Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, the highest-ranking lawmaker in the state Senate. Nobody would have a better chance at clearing the room with a campaign declaration than Stewart-Cousins, whose tenure leading the historically factional Democratic conference has been met with rave reviews from moderates and socialists alike.

Why they can’t win: Pataki was able to win by latching onto then-Sen. Al D’Amato’s statewide campaign apparatus. There are some groups with a statewide presence with whom candidates like Biaggi or Ramos can ally — most prominently, the Working Families Party. But their major successes in recent years have come in legislative or congressional campaigns, and they’ve yet to prove they can be the decisive factor in a statewide race.

Candidates can, of course, build their own networks. But particularly for those who have minimal name recognition outside of a district that represents less than 2 percent of the state, that’s the type of organizing they would need to get started on very soon.

As for Stewart-Cousins, the biggest obstacle standing in her way is that she’s never given the slightest hint that she’s interested in statewide office.

Ithaca Mayor Svante Myrick

Why he can win: Myrick might be in a unique position. At 33, he’s already been the focus of numerous effusive national profiles for topics like his recent efforts to enact the most sweeping police reforms in the country, and he would have as good a chance as anybody to win over the newly energized young leftists.

Unlike other progressive candidates who are similarly well-positioned, his tenure as the mayor of an upstate city — albeit a small and atypical one — would put him less at risk of laying an egg north of Yonkers.

Why he can’t win: While he might be able to avoid the attacks that he’s a “New York City socialist,” he’s still pretty far to the left. Democrats might have shifted in that direction in recent years, but there’s still not a lot of evidence that positions like defunding the police and establishing heroin injection sites will win over voters in Hempstead.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio


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Prominent retired generals aided Honoré review of Capitol security

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Retired Lt. Gen. Russel Honoré, tapped by Speaker Nancy Pelosi to review Capitol security in the aftermath of the Jan. 6 insurrection, is getting assistance from a “task force” of senior retired military officials, according to a list revealed for the first time Friday.

Among those officials is Karen Gibson, the retired lieutenant general selected this week as the Senate’s new sergeant-at-arms. The list also includes retired Lt. Gen. Jeff Buchanan, who oversaw the military response to the crisis in Puerto Rico following Hurricane Maria; retired Maj. Gen. Errol Schwartz, the former commander of the D.C. National Guard, who was ordered to step down from his post by former President Donald Trump’s administration immediately after Trump’s 2017 inauguration; and Ret. Major Gen. Linda Singh, the former head of the Maryland National Guard.

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The group, along with other members of Honoré’s “1/6 task force,” will brief the House in three groups on Monday about their recommendations for improvements to Capitol security. They’re expected to address aspects that include the size of the Capitol Police force, intelligence sharing operations and technological improvements to bolster campus security without upending the building’s open access to tourists, journalists and others.


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