Debbie Wasserman Schultz would make history were she to lose party chair and re-election in same year
Debbie Wasserman Schultz has introduced a bill that would help ensure the 80,000 Holocaust survivors in the United States to get the specialized care and services they need.

Debbie Wasserman Schultz

Outgoing DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz is facing the strongest challenge of her congressional career back home in South Florida from Democrat Tim Canova.

And if Wasserman Schultz is unsuccessful in the Aug. 30 primary, a new Smart Politics report finds she will be only the second party leader — either Democratic or Republican — to lose both a position as chair and elected office in the same year.

It will be the first such occurrence in 150 years, dating back to 1866, when New York Republican Henry Raymond became the party’s second chair following Edwin Morgan in 1864.

Raymond subsequently won a seat in the New York 6th Congressional District as a Unionist, serving a single term.

Smart Politics also notes the only party leader to both lose both an elected seat and end a chairmanship in the same year was 1866, when New Jersey Gov. Marcus Ward replaced Raymond as head of the Republican Party. Later that year, the freshman failed in his bid for renomination to the congressional seat, losing to Charles Spencer.

Wasserman Schultz certainly prefers to be on another short list — party chairs re-elected to their U.S. House seat the same year they ended their chairmanship. Tennessee Democrat Cordell Hull did that in 1924, while and Massachusetts Republican Joseph Martin did the same in 1942.

Only one party leader lost his re-election effort while he was serving as party chair — and continued to act as the party leader — William Butler of Massachusetts. Smart Politics writes that Butler became RNC chairman in 1924, an was then appointed to the U.S. Senate after Henry Cabot Lodge died later that year.

Butler remained in both roles until he lost a 1926 special election to former Democratic governor and U.S. Sen. David Walsh. However, Butler remained chair of the GOP until 1928.

Recent history shows a better strategy for exiting party chairs is to wait at least a year to run for elected office: Republicans George H.W. Bush (who served as both vice president and president) and Haley Barbour (governor of Mississippi) and Democrats Steven Grossman (who served as treasurer of Massachusetts), Ed Rendell (former governor of Pennsylvania), Terry McAuliffe (elected governor of Virginia on his second attempt), and Tim Kaine (U.S. senator from Virginia and current Democratic vice presidential nominee).

Peter Schorsch

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including Florida Politics and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. Schorsch is also the publisher of INFLUENCE Magazine. For several years, Peter's blog was ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.

One comment

  • sandy oestreich

    July 27, 2016 at 10:26 am

    sorry this happened, dear Debbie. we understand the pressures that may have brought this about. Fervor sometimes gets the best of All of us, ALL!
    Thanks for being An Original Co-sponsor of our new Equal Rights Amendment/ERA speed-up legislation at the outset. WE resonate with You, Debbie. SandyO, Pres of Natl Equal Rights Amendment Alliance Inc, 501c3. I am WITH you. [email protected]

Comments are closed.


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