The Buzz

S.C. Politics: Draft Biden super PAC hires SC staff


A super PAC encouraging Vice President Joe Biden to run for president is building its S.C. campaign, hiring staff and tapping two prominent political leaders to co-chair the state campaign.

Draft Biden said Wednesday that state Sen. Gerald Malloy, a Darlington attorney, and former Obama Administration staffer and S.C. schools Superintendent Inez Tenenbaum will serve as co-chairs of the effort to build support for Biden should he decide to run.

The PAC also announced the hiring of a state director, Isaiah Nelson, and three other directors to focus on politics, outreach and field campaigning. Nelson helped the S.C. Democratic Party coordinate campaign efforts in 2014 for several statewide candidates.

Biden has been weighing whether to enter the race, now dominated by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, a Vermont independent seeking the Democratic nomination.

Biden has powerful S.C. allies, including former state party chairman Dick Harpootlian, who has been encouraging the vice president to run and donated money to the Draft Biden effort.

Malloy said he has heard throughout the state a desire for “Biden to not only run for president, but to be the next president of the United States. South Carolina is ready to lead the effort to Draft Biden.”

Tenenbaum, the former chairman of the Consumer Product Safety Commission under President Obama, said Biden’s “ties in South Carolina are deep.”

S.C. Democrats trying to recruit next generation of leaders

S.C. Democrats have a new outlet for getting involved in politics.

The S.C. Democratic Party is launching a fellowship aimed at recruiting the party's next generation of candidates and political operatives.

While traveling the state during last year’s election cycle, party chairman Jamie Harrison said he noticed the party’s county leaders are in their 50s or 60s.

He added the state Democratic Party has had to hire young operatives from other states to help run campaigns, a sign that S.C. talent has not been cultivated. "Who will be the next generation of candidates? Who will be the next generation of political operatives?"

The S.C. Democratic Party will start accepting applications Thursday for the year-long fellowship named after U.S. Rep. Jim Clyburn of Columbia.

Applications are due Sept. 18. The party will accept 50 fellows for the first year, one from each of the state's 46 counties and four at large.

The goal, Harrison said, is to build the party's bench by preparing young adults to run for office, help run campaigns or lead county parties. "My goal is by 2020 to have 250 people all across the state trained and equipped to do just that."

Jamie Self