Tom Perez elected Chairman of the Democratic National Committee
Former Labor Secretary Tom Perez was elected Chairman of the Democratic National Committee, surviving a severe challenge from radical Muslim Congressman Keith Ellison.
Perez, the clear establishment favorite, then named Ellison his deputy, smoothing over what could have been a rancorous aftermath to the vote.
Tom Perez, the former Labor secretary for President Barack Obama, was elected as the Democratic National Committee’s new chairman on Saturday, replacing interim chair Donna Brazile after a rollicking four-month race and a chaotic final day of voting.
Party members landed on a decision on who should be in charge of Democrats’ official party apparatus after two rounds of balloting. With 218 votes necessary to win, the final tally was 235 votes for Perez and 200 votes for Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison.
Immediately after taking over, Perez moved to name Ellison his deputy chairman, aiming to unify a divided party.
"When we have these conversations, sometimes spirited, sometimes difficult, that's not a sign of weakness, that's a sign of strength as a party and that's what were going to keep doing,” Perez said.
“If you came here supporting me, wearing a Keith t-shirt, or any t-shirt, I’m asking you to give everything you’ve got to support Chairman Perez,” said Ellison, accepting the role. “You love this country, you love all the people in it, you care about each and every one of them, urban, rural, suburban, all cultures, all faiths, everybody, and they are in need of your help. And if we waste even a moment going at it over who supported who, we are not going to be standing up for those people. We don’t have the luxury, folks, to walk out of this room divided."
The result came after Perez came within one vote of winning in the first round, garnering 213.5 votes of the needed 214.5, while Ellison won 200. Idaho Democratic Party Executive Director Sally Boynton Brown received 12 votes, then dropped out before the second round.
South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg dropped out of the race — in which members of the Democrats Abroad group get half a vote each — just minutes before voting began. Three other candidates captured no support.
The vote was a lot closer than anyone expected just a few weeks ago. Ellison ran as a Bernie Sanders/Elizabeth Warren clone and many Democrats are no doubt breathing a sigh of relief that the party avoided a suicidal choice in Ellison. Forget the fact that Ellison is a Muslim; he is easily one of the most radical members of Congress and would have represented a disastrous turn to the far left for the party if he had succeeded.
Ellison will be much in demand on the Sunday talk shows, so making him Perez's deputy might still backfire on the Dems. They will try to sideline him, but he will still have an independent base of support and establishment Democrats who try to muzzle him will be playing with fire.