Asked Tuesday about the prospect of helming the party committee, Harrison said that he was open to the idea and that House Majority Whip James E. Clyburn (D-S.C.), an influential ally of President-elect Joe Biden, has voiced confidence in his ability to take on the job.
“I can’t betray any conversations with Whip, but I know that it’s something that he seems to think that I could do. I’d put it that way,” Harrison said when asked about Clyburn’s thinking in a telephone interview.
A Clyburn spokeswoman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Clyburn is one of the most powerful figures in Biden’s orbit, and he is expected to have influence over key decisions. He helped resurrect Biden’s struggling campaign early this year with an endorsement that catapulted the former vice president to victory in the South Carolina primary. From there, Biden’s campaign took off nationally.
Harrison, 44, said he has not spoken with Biden specifically about chairing the DNC or joining his administration. But if Biden asked him to do the job, he said, he would give it serious consideration.
“If that’s something that they are interested in me doing, I’ll definitely take a good look,” said Harrison. “Got to weigh it all with my wife.”
With a chuckle, he quipped, “I’ve got a lot of time on my hands these days.”
Though he fell short in his bid to defeat Graham last week, Harrison was one of the party’s biggest breakout candidates, raising a whopping $57 million from July through September. He was one of the most prominent African American candidates on the ballot and drew nationwide interest to his race. Graham ultimately prevailed by about 10 percentage points.
“Well, I can at least raise money, I can say that,” Harrison said.
Harrison is a former lobbyist who has served as an associate chairman of the DNC and as chairman of the South Carolina Democratic Party. He ran for DNC chairman after the 2016 election. When he dropped out of the race, he threw his support to Tom Perez, the current chairman.
Perez is not expected to stay on as chairman. A DNC aide on Tuesday reaffirmed Perez’s previously stated plans to step down.
With Democrats seizing control of the White House, Biden will choose who will run the DNC. The transition typically happens during the new year.
Asked whether Biden favors Harrison for the job, the president-elect’s team declined to comment. One Biden official said it was too early for such decisions.
Harrison said Biden called him on election night and he later heard from Vice President-elect Kamala D. Harris, “just to check on me and to tell me how proud they were of the campaign that we ran.”
Many Democrats have reached out to Harrison about the possibility of his leading the DNC, he said.
“The past few days, I’ve got a lot of text messages from folks, who are like, I heard Mr. Clyburn or I heard James Carville mention you,” said Harrison. “Listen, I’m flattered. But you know, at the end of the day it’s about who the president-elect decides to be the next chair.”
Carville, a veteran Democratic strategist who has mentioned the possibility on television, called Harrison the “obvious choice.”
“The guy has charisma, he has celebrity, he can raise money,” said Carville. He added: “Blacks have been an integral part of Biden’s coalition since the beginning. I don’t know the case against him.”
Harrison said he wants to help Biden in whatever way we can.
“If they called my number, my name, I’ll definitely pick up and answer,” he said.