Obama’s former labor secretary Thomas Perez was elected the first Latino chair of the Democratic National Committee on Saturday. Perez narrowly defeating Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) at the end of a contentious battle over the leadership of the splintered Democrat Party. Perez was the winner. President Trump even issued Perez a snarky congratulations via Twitter.
Perez’s victory concluded the first contested race for the DNC leadership since 1985. The Democrat party says they extended the contest by a month to allow for more debate. I personally believe it was to “coincidentally” happen on the same dates as CPAC; The Conservative Political Action Conference. Democrats have now voted for leadership that will navigate thousands of state and local elections. The party hopes to recoup the losses of the past six years, and a 2020 presidential race that could divide the party again. Perez grabbed the reins of the political wing of the party and emerged as a key figure in the party’s opposition the President’s agenda.
Mayor of Los Angeles, Eric Garcetti explains why he supported Thomas Perez.
More than 400 party insiders gathered in Atlanta to cast their ballots after four months of debate. The former Obama appointee now faces many challenges moving forward to rally a party still reeling from defeat and crippled by down-ballot losses across the country over the last decade. Perez has promised to focus on rebuilding local party organizations that many in the party say have been deteriorating over the last eight years as resources and brain-power became concentrated in Washington.
Keith Ellison’s defeat was no surprise to me. Ellison was as controversial as they come. He is a Muslim, with ties to racist Louis Farrakhan. I’m sure the Left wing of the party felt the blow. Its’ activists, labor leaders and organizers mostly supported Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and had come to Atlanta to cheer Ellison on.
A close vote for DNC Chair
The race was close enough that it required a second round of balloting, with Perez winning 235 of 435 votes cast. Tensions were still high when the result was announced. Ellison supporters chanted “Party for the people, not big money!” and stormed out of the room.
“Someday, they’re going to study this era of American history,” Perez said after his win. “They’re going to ask the question of all of us: Where were you in 2017 when we had the worst president in the history of the United States? We will be able to say that the Democratic Party led the resistance and made sure this was a one-term president.”
Well, not so fast. Perez has a lot of work ahead of him. Democrats have suffered historic losses across the board, and not just in the legislative branches of House, and Senate. Democrats have lost governorships and mayoral cities across the country since Obama was in office.
President Trump was quick with a witty congratulatory tweet soon after the announcement.
What do you think about the new DNC Chair Tom Perez? Let us know in the comments!