WASHINGTON–Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fl.) one of the most articulate spokespeople for Democratic candidates and causes–and a breast cancer survivor–is President Obama’s choice to replace Democratic National Committee chair Tim Kaine, who announced Tuesday he will be stepping down to run for a U.S. Senate seat from Virginia.
Wasserman Schultz is well known to political junkies, but extended her reach to a new and different U.S. audience after Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Az.) was shot on Jan. 8 and Waserman Schultz, a close friend, rushed to the hospital to be by her side.
Though Wasserman Schultz was a supporter of Hillary Rodham Clinton during the 2008 Democratic presidential primary, the Obama team admired her for taking on high profile surrogate chores after Obama clinched the nomination.
Wasserman Schultz brings to the DNC a formidable package: she comes from Florida, a 2012 battleground state; a smashing fund-raising track record; an appeal to female voters and strong connections to the U.S. Jewish community.
Former DNC co-chair Lynn Cutler, called the selection of Wasserman Schultz a “brilliant pick! She is a great energetic spokesperson, an effective fund raiser, and a very smart politician.”
Vice President Biden made the announcement of Obama’s choice in an e-mail to DNC members, whose ratification will be a formality. I’m told that when DNC executive director Patrick Gaspard told the DNC staff about Obama’s pick, the place erupted.
Schultz is the first female to chair the DNC as a presidential appointee confirmed by the DNC members; Debra DeLee held the post from 1994 to 1995 on an interim basis. She has three children.
FOOTNOTE: In Washington, Wasserman Schultz lives in the townhouse dubbed the “girls dorm,” renting a room in the Capitol Hill home of Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) One of her roommates was former Rep. Melissa Bean (D-Ill.)