Tom Perez announced he had been endorsed by David Pepper and Marcel Groen, the chairmen of the Ohio and Pennsylvania Democratic Party.
“To win states like Ohio, Democrats must have a leader who can rebuild our party, reach out to our big tent and refocus our message on creating real economic opportunity for Americans in rural counties, small cities and our urban centers,” Pepper said. “Tom Perez can do just that. Tom combines the unique experience of having successfully led large, complex organizations, with a strong progressive record of accomplishment on issue after issue. He understands the need for robust state parties to play the central role in an effective progressive infrastructure and the importance of building a true partnership between the national party and state parties in order to win elections at all levels.”
“While we are blessed with many impressive candidates for DNC chair, one stands out. Tom Perez has dedicated his life to fighting for the little guy, from his efforts to stop discriminatory voter ID laws at the Justice Department to requiring employers to disclose expenditures that pressure employees not to unionize,” Groen said in a statement. “After Donald Trump won Pennsylvania this past election, it is now more important than ever that we have a chair with this sort of record of results who can speak to people in Philadelphia as well as Johnstown and build a DNC for every Democrat.”
The significance of these endorsements is twofold: the real impact is that as state party chairs, both of them are voting members of the DNC and will elect the next chairman at the party’s winter meeting in Atlanta at the end of February. The symbolic impact is that these are two of the crucial Rust Belt states that cost Hillary Clinton the election.
Beyond them, Perez also rolled out endorsements from several former Department of Justice officials and U.S. attorneys (remember, federal law prohibits officials currently in the Department of Justice from making political endorsements), the most high-profile being his former boss, Attorney General Eric Holder:
“I truly have great respect for all of the candidates running for DNC chair, but as we wage an epic battle for the heart and soul of our nation, I strongly believe that Tom Perez is the progressive fighter and change agent we need to lead the Democratic party and to rebuild the party infrastructure in the states. I’m confident Tom is up to the tasks that will confront the next DNC Chair. I endorse him with great enthusiasm.”
This follows up on the news of Keith Ellison receiving the endorsement of John Burton, the chairman of the California Democratic Party. All candidates for DNC chairman are rolling out endorsements in the lead up to the fourth and final regional DNC forum, scheduled to take place in Baltimore on Saturday.