Wasserman Schultz to Head DNC

Posted April 5, 2011 at 4:55pm

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) will take the helm of the Democratic National Committee as its next chairwoman, according to an email Tuesday from Vice President Joseph Biden, marking the first time a current Member will simultaneously hold that post and serve in Congress in more than a decade.

Biden revealed President Barack Obama’s selection of Wasserman Schultz in an email to DNC members. The outgoing DNC chairman, Tim Kaine, announced earlier in the day that he will run for Senate, opening up the top slot to run the national party committee during a crucial presidential election cycle. Wasserman Schultz’s appointment was somewhat expected: The Florida Democrat was on almost every short list of possible Kaine successors and currently serves as a vice chairwoman of the DNC.

Wasserman Schultz is the first sitting Member to hold the post while serving on Capitol Hill in more than a decade. Former Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.), who retired from Congress last year, served as DNC chairman from 1995 to 1997.

The Florida Democrat is also the first woman ever to be appointed DNC chairwoman for a full term, a fact that several Democrats said would work to the party’s advantage in the 2012 cycle.

“Women are such an important constituency in the Democratic Party, that it would be such a help to have a woman help up a national committee,” said Ed Espinoza, a Democratic political consultant and former DNC political aide during Kaine’s tenure. “She has crisscrossed the country as DNC vice chair almost as much as Tim Kaine has. The Democratic base likes her, and middle-of-the-road women really like her.”

Politico first reported the news of Wasserman Schultz’s appointment.