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Tom Perez Elected DNC Chairman, Ellison Vice Chair

Tom Perez Elected DNC Chairman, Ellison Vice Chair

Tom Perez left, and Keith Ellison (AP)

By    |   Saturday, 25 February 2017 02:36 PM

Former Obama Labor Secretary Tom Perez was elected chairman of the Democratic National Committee at the group's winter meeting in Atlanta on Saturday.

Voting took two rounds.

After the first round, Perez fell just short of a majority for victory, but Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison was just a handful of votes behind.

In the first round of voting, Perez netted 213.5 votes, just one vote short of the 214.5 votes needed to win the chairmanship. Ellison, meanwhile, came in second place, with 200 votes.

In the second vote, Perez won 235 to 200. A total of 218 votes were needed in the second round. 

Perez immediately nominated Ellison deputy chair and was elected by acclimation.

"With hard work and a hell of a lot of organizing, we will turn this party around," an enthusiastic Perez said in his acceptance speech. "We've got to come out of here hand in hand, brothers and sisters, because Trump is right outside of that door."

Warning that future generations would judge them if they don't hold Republican President Donald Trump to one term, Perez said, "Where were you in 2017 when we had the worst president in the history of United States?"

At the start of the election process, a group of five other long-shot candidates nabbed enough votes to require additional rounds of voting and campaigning from Perez and Ellison.

According to DNC rules, all candidates are to be considered on the second ballot, but some had chosen to withdraw from the race, including South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, considered a favorite of some key Democrats, including former DNC Chairman Howard Dean. 

Buttigieg had not endorsed any of his former competitors after dropping out before balloting started Saturday, reports The Huffington Post. 

"After speaking non-stop with voters who have been kind enough to give us the most serious consideration, I now realize that it is time for this process to move on without me," Buttigieg said told the audience in Atlanta. "It is time for this process to move towards a solution that we can all get on board with, and that means it’s time, for the party, that I step aside."

Buttigieg had presented himself as an alternative between Ellison and Perez, whose tight race has been seen as a proxy battle between more far-left supporters of Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont, and moderate supporters of Hillary Clinton, and he noted that on Wednesday night during a debate on CNN.

"I didn’t love living through the 2016 primary the first time," Buttigieg said then. "I don’t know why we as a party would want to live through it a second time."

Perez's counterpart at the Republican National Committee, chairwoman Ronna McDaniel, was not impressed with his election, saying, "The Democrat Party has lost touch with the American people."

Voters in November said they wanted to change the liberal policies of eight years of President Barack Obama, she said.

"Families across the country are tired of skyrocketing premiums when they were promised affordable health care," McDaniel added. "They're tired of the Obama Economy that's left too many behind. ... Democrats only create deeper divisions within their own party by pushing a far left agenda that rejects a majority of their base outside Washington. The DNC would be well-served to learn from two straight election cycle losses, encourage the leaders in their party to listen to what the voters want, and get to work with Republicans to fix the mess they created."

Trump weighed in as well via Twitter:

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Former Obama Labor Secretary Tom Perez was elected chairman of the Democratic National Committee at the group's winter meeting in Atlanta on Saturday.
US, Democratic Chairman, The Latest
Saturday, 25 February 2017 02:36 PM
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