On Saturday, the Democratic National Committee elected former Labor Secretary Tom Perez as chairman of the group, as reported by The Hill. And right off the bat, he named Rep. Keith Ellison (his primary rival for the spot) as the deputy chair, which was approved.
It was a tight race for the DNC chair, though, as it went to a second ballot as Perez only got 213.5 votes during the first ballot. There were 427 votes cast, and a threshold of 214.5 votes was needed to secure a victory. But he was a bit luckier the second time around as he received 235 votes over Ellison’s 200.
Perez was seen as a member of the old guard, as he had won the support of Hillary Clinton and President Obama. Ellison, who had the support of Sen. Bernie Sanders, was seen as a candidate of its new progressive side. The Hill noted the disconnect between the mainstream Democrat base and the new grassroots liberal Democrats movement was a possible reason for the party’s performance in the 2016 election. Some were hoping Ellison would win and bridge the divide, but that doesn’t appear to be the case.
But to win over possibly dejected Democrats, Perez named Ellison the deputy chair. Ellison said now is the time for unity and working together to rebuild the Democratic party:
“Organizing is how we’re going to win. We believe we would rather have a million donations of $10 than ten donations of $100,000. We got to go to the grass roots, y’all. Unity is essential. Trump is right outside this door, not just Trump but Trumpism. We gotta understand that it’s not just one fight.”
Now that the DNC has a new chair, Perez noted now is the time to get to work.