You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Tom Perez Elected Chair of Democratic National Committee

Tom Perez, the most recent secretary of labor under Barack Obama, was elected the next chairman of the Democratic National Committee, after a contentious vote to lead the party after its devastating loss in November.

Perez’s chief opponent in a large field of candidates was Keith Ellison, a congressman from Minnesota, who was endorsed by Bernie Sanders.

“I am confident that when we lead with our values and lead with our actions, we succeed,” Perez said at the DNC’s winter gathering in Atlanta.

Perez won 235 votes to Ellison’s 200 on a second ballot of DNC member after no candidate claimed a majority in the initial vote.

Perez immediately made a move to try to unify competing factions, calling for Ellison to be named deputy chair of the DNC.

Ellison told the gathering that “we don’t have the luxury to walk out of this room divided.”

The vote was characterized as a battle of party establishment, represented by Perez, versus a more insurgent liberal wing of the party, represented by Ellison. That did not always match the rhetoric coming from major candidates or even their endorsements.

Ellison, for instance, garnered endorsements not just from Sanders but from Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.). And Perez, who was endorsed by former Vice President Joseph Biden, was viewed as one of the more progressive voices during his tenure in the Obama administration. As Hillary Clinton considered potential running mates, he was seen as a pick who could please the left wing of the party.

A dark-horse candidate was Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Ind., who was endorsed by former DNC chair Howard Dean. But Buttigieg dropped out of the race on Saturday afternoon, before voting began, acknowledging that he did not have enough support to make a showing. Dean endorsed Ellison after the first ballot.

Despite his significant support, Ellison was criticized by some major party donors, including Haim Saban, who in December said that he was “clearly an anti-Semite and anti-Israel individual.” It was a reference to Ellison’s previous writings about the Nation of Islam and its leader, Louis Farrakhan. Ellison, the first Muslim American elected to Congress, said that he had long since distanced himself from Farrakhan and renounced their “bigoted and anti-Semitic ideas and statements.”

Perez played down any divisions in his first speech after being elected chair. “I want to apologize to the media because we did talk about this issues, We didn’t talk about the other stuff,” Perez said, suggesting that the disagreements among the candidates were overhyped.

Sanders, who is an independent, issued a statement congratulating Perez but also warning him that it was “imperative” that he “understands that the same-old, same-old is not working and that we must open the doors of the party to working people and young people in a way that has never been done before.”

The election was unusual in that it drew some interest beyond party insiders. Cher tweeted out her support for Buttigieg on Friday, and Gloria Steinem backed Ellison several weeks ago.

Perez succeeds Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who resigned as chair in July, on the eve of the Democratic National Convention, after embarrassing details on party operations were leaked after the DNC’s computer system was hacked. Donna Brazile served as acting chair in the interim.

In his victory speech, Perez also turned the focus on winning seats at all levels, as Democrats find themselves at a low ebb when it comes to control of the White House, Congress and statehouses across the country. He called President Trump “the worst president in the history of the United States” and said that he would be a one-term president.

More Biz

  • Leaving Neverland HBO

    'Leaving Neverland' Lawsuit Proves to Be a Judicial Hot Potato

    The Michael Jackson estate sued HBO last month for airing the documentary “Leaving Neverland,” which accuses the late King of Pop of serial child sexual abuse. Since then, the case has had a difficult time finding a judge to handle it. Three federal judges have recused themselves in the last week, citing potential financial conflicts [...]

  • Members of the public mourn at

    Guy Oseary’s New Zealand Fundraiser Nears $150,000, Continues Raising Money

    In the wake of the horrific shootings at New Zealand mosques last week that killed some 49 people, Maverick chief Guy Oseary launched a GoFundMe campaign to “support those affected by this tragedy at this very difficult time,” and began it with an $18,000 donation. Boosted by donations from many celebrities — including Amy Schumer, [...]

  • Cesar Sayoc Headshot

    Florida Man Pleads Guilty in CNN Pipe Bomb Case

    A Florida man pleaded guilty Thursday to sending pipe bombs to CNN and prominent critics of President Donald Trump. Cesar Sayoc appeared in federal court in New York, where he pleaded to 65 counts stemming from the mailing of 16 devices. He faces life in prison, plus 120 months, at his sentencing on Sept. 12. [...]

  • Tencent Profits Hit $1 Billion Per

    Tencent Profits Hit $1 Billion per Month as Company Loses Fizz

    Growing regulatory encroachments into its games business, a smaller than expected spin-off for its music division, and a fourth quarter profits drop, pointed to a troubling year for Chinese tech giant Tencent. Its financial results for the full 2018 period, while delivering profits of nearly $1 billion a month, appeared to bear out that thesis. [...]

  • splice

    Splice Raises $57.5 Million in Latest Funding Round

    Splice, a favorite of music creators that allows access to a library of three million rights-cleared sounds, announced today that the company closed a Series C funding round at $57.5 million. That brings Splice’s total amount raised to roughly $102 million since its launch in 2013. It raised a Series B in November of 2017. [...]

  • WGA Agents Contract Tug of War

    WGA Leaders to Meet With Showrunners on Agency Packaging Fight (EXCLUSIVE)

    WGA leaders are set to meet Wednesday night with a group of showrunners who are raising concerns about the guild’s handling of negotiations with talent agents over the issue of packaging fees and agency-affiliated productions. The meeting is set for 7:30 p.m. at WGA West headquarters. WGA West president David Goodman is expected to attend. [...]

  • Bill Murray St Vincent 2014

    Weinstein Co. Sued Over Trademark Infringement in Bill Murray Film

    A horse-racing announcer has sued the Weinstein Co., claiming that the company infringed on his trademarked phrase in a 2014 Bill Murray movie. Dave Johnson is the man behind “And down the stretch they come!,” which he began using while calling races in Illinois in the 1960s. The phrase took off when Johnson moved to [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content