Former Labor Sec. Perez elected as Democratic National Committee chairman

Former Labor Sec. Perez elected as Democratic National Committee chairman

Perez was elected the first Latino chairman of the party on the second ballot at the winter meeting of the Democratic National Committee, and immediately named the runner-up, Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison, deputy chairman in a gesture of unity. In a nod to these divisions, Perez quickly called on Ellison to serve as deputy chair.

But no question about it, when Perez was named the victor, I was standing right in front a huge crowd of Ellison supporters who continued to keep chanting, "money out of politics", and didn't want to hear anything from Perez. Former President Obama praises of Perez without formally endorsing him.

In his speech to DNC voters before the voting, Perez said that all Democrats would leave united and that Democrats are the party of inclusion in every zip code. "When Donald Trump says, 'I'm going to bring those coal jobs back, ' we know that's a lie, but people understand that he feels their pain", Perez said at a recent forum.

"We're all friends up here", Ellison said during a recent candidate forum.

"Do we stay with a failed status-quo approach or do we go forward with a fundamental restructuring of the Democratic Party?" Local officials react to South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg pulling his name from the race just before voting began.

The vote on the first ballot was Tom Perez 213.5 to Keith Ellison 200.

Ellison, for instance, garnered endorsements not just from Sanders but from Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.). Reaction wasn't enthusiastic among the liberal groups that embraced Sanders' presidential campaign and have intensified their efforts since the election of Republican President Donald Trump.

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But the progressive and establishment camps within the Democratic Party seem to agree on at least one thing.

"Keith's long history as an organizer who can energize the grassroots makes him the best choice to lead our party during this critical time", he said.

Among the tough tasks facing Perez will be choosing on which fronts to oppose Republicans and which to engage them, according to Jim Manley, a Democratic strategist and former colleague of Perez under the late Sen.

In a phone interview from Atlanta, Jason Johnson, a political analyst, told Al Jazeera the election was key to determining a figure who could rebuild the Democratic Party, which is one of only two parties largely capable of being elected in the USA, that has been "decimated at the state level".

And he and other candidates, well aware that Democrats lost ground to Republicans in state house and governor races, stressed the need to seed the party with new, young talent.

The scandal, which arguably cost Clinton victory on November 8, also mired interim Democratic Party Committee chairwoman Donna Brazile and saw her resigning as a CNN contributor after the new batch of emails revealed she had leaked CNN debate questions to the Clinton camp.