DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — In politics, there can typically be an upside to dropping.
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 a protracted Washington custom of defeated politicians looking for shelter in a brand new White Home. Touchdown a job in a brand new administration can each place the dropping candidates for future campaigns and supply the incoming president with necessary relationships on Capitol Hill.
“It is good to have individuals who know easy methods 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 function. He has already unveiled a lot of his financial and nationwide safety staff and is anticipated to announce picks quickly for key well being positions.
However there are nonetheless a lot of main Cupboard positions to be stuffed, together with lawyer basic and leaders of the departments of Labor, Commerce and Transportation. As Biden considers his choices, his private reference to among the defeated lawmakers may carry significance.
Finkenauer, who’s into consideration as Labor secretary, owes her begin in politics partially to Biden. As a school scholar, she labored on his ill-fated 2008 presidential marketing campaign. A decade later, he headlined a rally for her profitable congressional marketing campaign. She was a key surrogate for Biden forward of the Iowa caucuses.
“I do know they’ve a protracted relationship, and it’s been mutually supportive,” stated former Assistant Dubuque Metropolis Supervisor Teri Goodman, who’s a decades-long Biden supporter and has watched Finkenauer’s rise.
Finkenauer narrowly misplaced her bid for a second time period in a rural northeast Iowa district. However 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 Division, in keeping with Democratic sources accustomed to the communications.
Jones, in the meantime, is within the combine to guide the Justice Division, partly resulting from his work as a U.S. lawyer who helped convict Ku Klux Klansmen for the Birmingham church bombing that killed 4 Black women.
He narrowly gained a particular Alabama Senate election in 2017, however misplaced reelection final month. He additionally has a longstanding private relationship with Biden relationship 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. 3 after he’d misplaced the seat to Republican Tommy Tuberville.
Shalala is probably essentially the most administration-ready of 2020’s dropping Democratic class. She spent eight years as secretary of well being and human providers beneath Invoice Clinton after which served as president of the College of Miami earlier than profitable a south Florida Home seat in 2018. She has heard from Biden transition officers.
Past the outgoing members of Congress, Biden can be contemplating his former rivals within the Democratic main for jobs. He already tapped California Sen. Kamala Harris as his vice chairman.
Biden is weighing roles for Pete Buttigieg, the previous South Bend, Indiana, mayor who mounted a surprisingly robust 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 Home race, is a part of discussions for a Biden administration function, maybe as secretary of agriculture. One other identify into consideration for agriculture is former North Dakota Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, who misplaced in 2018 however has been a champion of reinvigorating rural America.
“In the event that they suppose I will be useful, then good,” Heitkamp informed The Related Press lately.
Presidents have typically sought dropping rivals for positions. Republican Donald Trump selected fellow 2016 GOP presidential candidates Rick Perry as power secretary and Ben Carson for housing and concrete growth. 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 lawyer basic beneath George W. Bush, together with in the course of the aftermath of the 2001 terrorist assaults in america.
Former Senate Majority Chief 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 revenue taxes.
Essentially the most profitable dropping congressional candidate of the previous 50 years is George H. W. Bush, who as a two-term Republican U.S. Home member from Texas misplaced his 1970 bid for Senate towards 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. However the put up led to an ambassadorship to China, and the experiences had been beneficial when as president he discovered himself main a world coalition in Operation Desert Storm.
“The importance is that was the start of his self education and experience in international affairs,” stated Chase Untermeyer, director of White Home personnel throughout George H. W. Bush’s administration.
In a White Home led by a Capitol Hill veteran like Biden, a staff with a background in Congress is especially beneficial to these across the president, since Biden stays effectively acquainted with the foundations and plenty of members.
However contemplating Biden hasn’t been a senator in almost a dozen years, Card stated these with more moderen expertise in Congress will probably be useful.
“Greater than serving to the president, these folks can assist the White Home workers coping with members of Congress,” stated Card. “They know the place the congressional gymnasium is, and easy methods to get invited to a congressional luncheon. And that’s a bonus.”
Related Press author Kim Chandler in Montgomery, Alabama, contributed to this report.