Outgoing Senate minority leader Harry Reid didn’t hold anything back in this interview with Nevada Public Radio:
Caller Jack wanted to know about the Democratic Party’s chances in 2018:
I believe one of the failures of Democratic Party has been the Democratic National Committee, the DNC, has been worthless. They do nothing to help state parties. That should be the main goal they have. I developed everything in Nevada on my own. Their help was relatively meaningless.
So, I would hope that they would choose a chair of the Democratic Party who is a full-time person. Not someone like we had with that congresswoman from Florida, who was a full-time congresswoman and a part time chair of the DNC.
We need a full time DNC chair and what they should do – they can take my model if they want – it’s not rocket science. It doesn’t take a lot of brain power to figure out what needs to be done. They should take a few states every election cycle, maybe three maybe four, and help them develop the infrastructure for good state party organization.
Nevada was one of the few bright spots for Democrats on Election Day. State Democrats ran the table and won the presidential race, the Senate race, two House of Representatives races, and retook control of both chambers in the state legislature, which they had lost in 2014.
Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) released a list of 35 endorsements for his DNC chairmanship candidacy from elected officials and organizations on Friday. Among those who signed on: Senator-elect Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), United Steelworkers, and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. This follows early endorsements from outgoing Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), incoming Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.)
Ellison is clearly trying to build on his early momentum in an effort to lock down early front runner status. It is unclear as of right now which of the many potential candidates will emerge as his chief challenger(s).
Update: Ellison’s opponents (including former DNC chairman Howard Dean and South Carolina Democratic Party chairman Jaime Harrison) and other Democrats are pushing back on his candidacy, arguing that his responsibilities as a member of Congress (votes, oversight, and constituents) would undercut his ability to do the DNC chairman job effectively. Their argument is that being the DNC chairman is a full-time job, especially now when the party is rebuilding. They point out Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who was a member of the House of Representatives in addition to being the DNC chair during most of Obama’s presidency, who wound up having to resign from the job in the aftermath of a WikiLeaks email dump last summer.