Florida congresswoman to head Democratic Party

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama on Tuesday selected Florida congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz to serve as chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee for the 2012 election cycle, Democratic officials said.

Wasserman Schultz will lead the party as it prepares for Obama’s re-election campaign in 2012. A popular draw on the fund-raising circuit, Wasserman Schultz is also a frequent television commentator for Democrats.

Wasserman Schultz will replace Tim Kaine as DNC chair. Kaine, a former governor of Virginia, announced plans to run for the Senate seat being vacated by Democratic Senator Jim Webb.

“Tim Kaine will be a tough act to follow at the DNC,” Wasserman Schultz said in a statement. “But I am hopeful that I will be able to build on his successful tenure, make our party even stronger and elect and re-elect Democrats up and down the ticket in 2011 and 2012.”

Wasserman Schultz, 44, represents Florida, which is a critical battleground state in presidential elections. She is a breast cancer survivor.

Vice President Joe Biden said in an email to Democratic supporters that in selecting Wasserman Schultz, Obama noted her “tenacity, her strength, her fighting spirit, and her ability to overcome adversity.”

(Reporting by Steve Holland; Editing by Eric Beech)

Florida congresswoman to head Democratic Party