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Tuesday, April 20, 2021

I Know You’re In the Right State, But… The Democrats Are Not Where They Think They’re At

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Courtesy of Jaime Harrison Photo Courtesy of Jaime Harrison Photo

“I think so,” Jaime Harrison says when asked if he is part of a rising Democratic party led by the two rising stars in the Senate, Kamala Harris and Cory Booker. The South Carolina state party chairman hails from New Jersey and counts Barack Obama as a mentor.

Asked if he thinks he is having the impact he has this year in South Carolina that he had hoped, Mr. Harrison replies, “No question.”

In a state Republican Gov. Henry McMaster and President Trump have to worry about, Mr. Harrison has been punching far above his weight.

As the head of the South Carolina Democratic Party, Mr. Harrison went on television while Democrats and their allies were sullied by denigrating a state legislator’s daughter. Then, when Mr. Trump sent a relatively small force of thousands of troops to seize Florida, Mr. Harrison went out to Tampa Bay, where he conducted a press conference and called on his party to do more than get in the way of military efforts.

“We need to show there’s a line we’re not going to cross,” he said.

Beyond that, he has been known to go after the White House for what he sees as weaknesses and not very tolerant of dissent.

Earlier this year, he gave up his elected position as a minority whip in the state House of Representatives, perhaps to be better known as a party figure. “Some people liked it and some people didn’t,” he said.

Even so, he is now beyond the expectations of the strategists he was hired to win over, or those who choose to see what he did in the state as a void and a case of Democrats not paying enough attention.

“He didn’t carry South Carolina to Washington,” says Amanda Cummings, a Democratic pollster and strategist from the state. “He carried South Carolina to 2020.”

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