THE PROGRESSIVE REVIEW - December 15, 2016
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*-- Labor Secretary Tom Perez expected to join race for DNC chair --*
WASHINGTON - After being nudged by high-ranking Democrats in recent days, Labor Secretary Tom Perez is expected to throw his name into contention for the chairmanship of the Democratic National Committee on Thursday.
Perez will be the third candidate to be head of the DNC, becoming the second challenger to Minn. Rep. Keith Ellison, who has been gathering support in Congress and from other powerful Democratic groups around the country since days after the election.
"Tom's a good friend, a great Democrat, and I welcome him to the race," Jaime Harrison, chairman of the South Carolina Democratic Party, who is also running against Ellison for the position, told The Washington Post. "I'm a firm believer that iron sharpens iron."
Since former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's loss in the presidential race, Democrats have pondered the future of the party as they look for a leader to it in a new direction. Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders threw his support behind Ellison quickly after he announced he'd run for the job, suggesting his ability to organize and work at the grassroots levels of politics made him idea for the position.
While Ellison quickly gained support for his bid as the first candidate to run the DNC, including from incoming Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, among others, some raised concerns about past comments about Israel's treatment of Palestinians and previous support for the Nation of Islam.
Ellison is said to have racked up a decent portion of the DNC members who will vote for a new chairman in February but many in the party say there has been no great gathering of support for any candidate and think the race remains relatively wide open.
Perez has reportedly been approached by many in upper echelon's of the Democratic power structure, spending the last week talking to Democratic governors and party leaders, and will meet with President Barack Obama -- his boss -- sometime this week. Both Obama and Vice President Joe Biden have already reportedly encouraged Perez to run, though.
"I like Tom a lot, and if he was to run, I think he would be a formidable candidate," Conn. Gov. Dannel Malloy, who heads the Democratic Governors' Association, told The New York Times.
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