DES MOINES, Iowa: In politics, there can typically be an upside to shedding.
President-elect Joe Biden is eyeing a number of Democrats who misplaced congressional reelection races final month for key positions in his administration. They embrace outgoing Reps. Abby Finkenauer of Iowa and Donna Shalala of Florida and Sen. Doug Jones of Alabama.
Their consideration continues an extended Washington custom of defeated politicians in search of shelter in a brand new White House. Landing a job in a brand new administration can each place the shedding candidates for future campaigns and supply the incoming president with necessary relationships on Capitol Hill.
It’s good to have individuals who know find out how to roam the halls of Congress, stated Andrew Card, who directed George W. Bush’s transition and later served because the Republican president’s chief of workers.
Biden’s transition staff declined to touch upon the prospects of any particular person contender for an administration position. He has already unveiled a lot of his financial and nationwide safety staff and is predicted to announce picks quickly for key well being positions.
But there are nonetheless numerous main Cabinet positions to be stuffed, together with legal professional basic and leaders of the departments of Labor, Commerce and Transportation. As Biden considers his choices, his private reference to a number of the defeated lawmakers might carry significance.
Finkenauer, who’s into account as Labor secretary, owes her begin in politics partially to Biden. As a university pupil, she labored on his ill-fated 2008 presidential marketing campaign. A decade later, he headlined a rally for her successful congressional marketing campaign. She was a key surrogate for Biden forward of the Iowa caucuses.
I do know they’ve an extended relationship, and its been mutually supportive, stated former Assistant Dubuque City Manager Teri Goodman, who’s a decades-long Biden supporter and has watched Finkenauers rise.
Finkenauer narrowly misplaced her bid for a second time period in a rural northeast Iowa district. But since then, the previous state legislator, who made a reputation selling public worker unions, has had conversations with senior Biden transition officers about main the Labor Department, in response to Democratic sources aware of the communications.
Jones, in the meantime, is within the combine to steer the Justice Department, partly attributable to his work as a U.S. legal professional who helped convict Ku Klux Klansmen for the Birmingham church bombing that killed 4 Black women.
He narrowly received a particular Alabama Senate election in 2017, however misplaced reelection final month. He additionally has a longstanding private relationship with Biden courting to Biden’s first presidential marketing campaign in 1988.
Biden spoke at Jones’ marketing campaign kickoff in 2017, saying of Jones, He is aware of your coronary heart and can by no means allow you to down, and was the primary to phone him on Nov. three after he’d misplaced the seat to Republican Tommy Tuberville.
Shalala is maybe probably the most administration-ready of 2020’s shedding Democratic class. She spent eight years as secretary of well being and human providers beneath Bill Clinton after which served as president of the University of Miami earlier than successful a south Florida House seat in 2018. She has heard from Biden transition officers.
Beyond the outgoing members of Congress, Biden can also be contemplating his former rivals within the Democratic main for jobs. He already tapped California Sen. Kamala Harris as his vp.
Biden is weighing roles for Pete Buttigieg, the previous South Bend, Indiana, mayor who mounted a surprisingly sturdy marketing campaign within the early stretch of the Democratic primaries. Biden has expressed deep affection for Buttigieg, who was one of many first main candidates to drop out of the race and endorse Biden.
Montana Gov. Steve Bullock, who misplaced his Senate bid after leaving the White House race, is a part of discussions for a Biden administration position, maybe as secretary of agriculture. Another identify into account for agriculture is former North Dakota Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, who misplaced in 2018 however has been a champion of reinvigorating rural America.
If they assume I might be useful, then good, Heitkamp informed The Associated Press not too long ago.
Presidents have usually sought shedding rivals for positions. Republican Donald Trump selected fellow 2016 GOP presidential candidates Rick Perry as power secretary and Ben Carson for housing and concrete improvement. Democrat Barack Obama notably selected former rival Hillary Clinton to be secretary of state after the 2008 election.
Missouri Sen. John Ashcroft’s defeat in 2000 paved the best way for his 4 years as legal professional basic beneath George W. Bush, together with throughout the aftermath of the 2001 terrorist assaults within the United States.
Former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle of South Dakota, who misplaced election to a 3rd time period in 2004, was tapped after the 2008 election by Obama to move well being and human providers, which might have put him on the forefront of the well being care debate. Daschle withdrew from consideration after questions arose about his failure to correctly report and pay earnings taxes.
The most profitable shedding congressional candidate of the previous 50 years is George H. W. Bush, who as a two-term Republican U.S. House member from Texas misplaced his 1970 bid for Senate in opposition to Democrat Lloyd Bentsen.
As a comfort, President Richard Nixon picked Bush to be ambassador to the United Nations, a disappointment for the up-and-comer who hoped for a treasury job. But the submit led to an ambassadorship to China, and the experiences had been worthwhile when as president he discovered himself main a world coalition in Operation Desert Storm.
The significance is that was the start of his self education and experience in international affairs, stated Chase Untermeyer, director of White House personnel throughout George H. W. Bushs administration.
In a White House led by a Capitol Hill veteran like Biden, a staff with a background in Congress is especially worthwhile to these across the president, since Biden stays effectively acquainted with the principles and lots of members.
But contemplating Biden hasn’t been a senator in practically a dozen years, Card stated these with more moderen expertise in Congress might be useful.
More than serving to the president, these folks might help the White House workers coping with members of Congress, stated Card. They know the place the congressional health club is, and find out how to get invited to a congressional luncheon. And thats a bonus.
Associated Press author Kim Chandler in Montgomery, Alabama, contributed to this report.
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