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DNC Chair Jaime Harrison rallies Democratic leaders for 2022 at winter meeting in Charleston | Palmetto Politics

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Democratic National Committee Chairman Jaime Harrison rallied party leaders in Charleston on Dec. 17, encouraging them America’s future is at stake in 2022. 

“We have to win in 2022 and not just to say Democrats won in 2022; we have to win to save democracy,” Harrison said during a meeting of the Association of State Democratic Committees and the DNC’s Executive Committee.

The group arrived in Charleston on Dec. 16 for a three-day conference at the Charleston Marriott Hotel to rally leaders, discuss strategy and organize their future meetings.

It marked the first large-scale assembly of top Democratic officials since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Around 50 people were in attendance in-person on Dec. 17, but some leaders and supporters also watched the conference online. 

Harrison, a South Carolina native, made brief comments on the second day of the conference, taking aim at Republicans in his opening speech and highlighted Jan. 6 as a turning point for the nation.

He added that Democrats were the only party still fighting to save the country in the aftermath of the violence in Washington, D.C. 

“To see that happen on January 6, I thought that Democrats and Republicans would stand up and say enough is not enough,” Harrison said. ” But fast-forward to today, the Democratic Party is still fighting to save America.”

Harrison’s appearance in Charleston was the same day that President Joe Biden spoke 80 miles away at South Carolina State University in Orangeburg where the commander-in-chief delivered the winter commencement address.

Harrison, who served as the chair of the South Carolina Democratic Party from 2013 to 2017, said he was glad to have national party leaders in his home state.

SC's Jim Clyburn and DNC Chair Jaime Harrison regroup after Virginia loss

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“Being back in my state party family always feels like a homecoming because, in essence, it is,” Harrison told the crowd. “And I’m especially thrilled to have you all in South Carolina, my home state.”

Trav Robertson, the chairman of the South Carolina Democratic Party, in brief remarks praised Harrison and said the party “appreciates the work you’ve done.”

Democrats had a lot to celebrate in 2020 with Biden’s election and the party’s control of the Senate and House of Representatives.

But Republicans are celebrating recent wins in the Virginia governor’s race this last month as well as in South Carolina with the Columbia mayor’s race and the Georgetown City Council offices being swept by the GOP.  

Ken Martin, president of the Association of State Democratic Committees, told the crowd in Charleston now is time for the party to advertise and, ultimately, act on their 2020 victories so they can win again in 2022. 

Do recent GOP wins spell trouble for Democrats in ‘22?

“The time for hand-wringing is over,” Martin said. “Our party has unified control of Congress and the White House for the first time in well over a decade … now, we are able to use that power to deliver transformational change for the American people.”

SC GOP Chairman Drew McKissick told The Post and Courier in a statement that he believes Harrison’s messaging will fall flat in South Carolina and beyond in 2022. 

“South Carolina is always a great place for conferences, meetings, and weekend trips,” McKissick said. “But our voters have proven that the Palmetto State is not a place for Democrat success at the ballot box — no matter how much money they spend.”

Harrison’s comments on unity in the party come amid reports of infighting within the DNC ranks. He was not available for questions at the event in Charleston, but addressed some of the strife during his brief speech. 

“I want you to know that from this moment forward, Democrats are not in disarray,” Harrison said. “As Beyonce said, we give in formation.”

Reach Thomas Novelly at 843-937-5713. Follow him @TomNovelly on Twitter. 

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