As expected, the final vote for chair of the DNC came down to former Obama Labor Secretary Tom Perez, and Minnesota Democratic Rep. Keith Ellison with Rep. Pete Buttgieg dropping out over the weekend. It was a close vote, but in the end, Perez won the battle.
Former Labor Secretary Tom Perez has defeated Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) to become the next chairman of the Democratic National Committee in a blow to Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and the progressive wing of the party.
Perez won with 235 votes on the second ballot, with 218 votes needed to reach a majority. He fell just shy in the first ballot, totaling 213.5 votes.
The win came after Perez failed to clear the threshold required to win the first vote by only one ballot.
Vice President Biden and other key figures from the Obama administration supported Perez, who backed Hillary Clinton in the primary.
Sanders and many of his allies backed Ellison, the first-ever Muslim elected to Congress and a star on the left. Several Ellison supporters told The Hill this week that they are unsure if they can back Perez.
The race to become the next Democratic Party leader split along establishment-grassroots lines and in many ways mirrored the divisive 2016 presidential primary between Sanders and Clinton.
The mainstream Democrats won out again.
Perez, the 55-year-old son of Dominican immigrants, becomes the party’s public face and chief spokesperson in charge of staking out Democratic opposition to President Trump.
I had some problems with Ellison, but he answered a lot of questions over the last month that I had about him and to his credit he stayed in the fight cleanly, without making it personal (and realizing that, you know, Bernie Sanders isn't a Democrat, and the people in the party are.) To me, he proved that he really did care more about the party than his own ambitions, and like Perez, I would have been happy with either as chair.
Perez's first act was to immediately (and very, very wisely) appoint Ellison as deputy chair, but needless to say, the pressure is already on Perez to deliver immediately on the way to 2018. If the Dems keep losing ground, Perez isn't going to have a honeymoon at all, and there will be calls for him to resign and turn operations over to Ellison sooner rather than later.
Anyhow, ball's in your court, Tom. Be ready to play. The country needs the Dems back in action, immediately if not sooner.
New tag: Tom Perez.