Election 2020-Kamala Harris (copy)

California Sen. Kamala Harris appears at a fundraiser for Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc., of which she is a member, Friday, Jan. 25, 2019 in Columbia, S.C. File/AP Photo/Meg Kinnard

WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris has hired a top Democratic operative from South Carolina who worked on Hillary Clinton's 2016 campaign in the state to lead her 2020 primary operation in the Palmetto State.

Jalisa Washington-Price will be the South Carolina state director for Harris, the campaign announced Friday. She will also take on a national role as the California Democrat's deputy political director.

After recently being promoted to chief of staff of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee — the party's national campaign arm for the House of Representatives — Washington-Price left the role after just two months on the job last week, saying at the time she had a new opportunity that was too good to pass up.

Like several other experienced Democratic operatives from South Carolina, Washington-Price was heavily courted by several presidential candidates looking to add her to their campaign teams. She told The Post and Courier that Harris stood out among the pack.

"Having a chance to come back to my beloved state of South Carolina, I wanted to align myself with a candidate that I think could win but also has a message that I think could resonate in South Carolina and throughout the country," Washington-Price said. "She brings an energetic voice to the table that folks like myself want to hear."

A native of lower Richland County, Washington-Price attended the University of South Carolina before entering politics.

Prior to her brief stint as DCCC chief of staff, she was the national director of the group's office of diversity for the 2018 election cycle, leading efforts to recruit diverse staff, minority-owned vendors and consultants, and engage minority voters. 

Washington-Price started on Clinton's 2016 campaign as the S.C. political director before moving around to a variety of roles, including as a regional political director and Ohio women's vote director. 

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Washington-Price is the second hire by Harris' campaign in South Carolina, joining her new communications director in the state, Jerusalem Demsas.

"Jalisa spent the last cycle playing a critical role in Democrats winning 40 seats in the House of Representatives," Demsas said. "She has extensive relationships in South Carolina and we are incredibly excited for the work she will do directing our statewide operation in addition to much of our national political operation."

Harris most recently visited South Carolina for a sorority fundraiser for the local chapter of the historically black Alpha Kappa Alpha, which she pledged while at Howard University. She is set to return to the state on Feb. 15 to kick off a tour of all four early primary states.

The hire by Harris is the latest episode in an ongoing arms race between the many presidential candidates for top political talent in South Carolina, a crucial early primary state.

U.S. Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., recently brought on one of Washington-Price's former colleagues from the Clinton campaign, Clay Middleton, as well as former S.C. Democratic Party Executive Director Christale Spain, who worked on U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders' presidential campaign in 2016.

Follow Jamie Lovegrove on Twitter @jslovegrove.

Jamie Lovegrove is a political reporter covering the South Carolina statehouse and congressional delegation. He previously covered Texas politics in Washington for The Dallas Morning News and in Austin for the Texas Tribune.