The Wall Street Journal’s Reid Epstein has a good update on the state of the DNC chair race. (Keep in mind this story was written and published before Ray Buckley’s decision to drop out of the race and endorse Keith Ellison). Here are some highlights from the story:
Despite Tom Perez’s email to DNC members saying he had secured the support of 180 members, the campaign could only provide the WSJ with the names of 34 members who had publicly endorsed him.
Keith Ellison’s campaign provided the WSJ with a list of 56 DNC members who have publicly endorsed him.
Key caveat: “Neither campaign agreed to reveal their list of private commitments.”
DNC member endorsement counts for other candidates:
Sally Boynton Brown: 5
Ray Buckley: 8
Pete Buttigieg: 6
Jehmu Greene: 0
Jaime Harrison: 9
Sally Boynton Brown, as well as representatives from the Ellison and Perez campaigns, are in Laramie, Wyoming today for an event organized by state Democrats. None of Wyoming’s four DNC members has made a public endorsement in the race.
UPDATE: Since Buckley dropped out of the race, he is encouraging his supporters and the DNC members who endorsed him to get behind Ellison. The assumption is that they will do so, though they are free to get behind another candidate if they wish.
NBC’s Alex Seitz-Wald reported that Ellison had offered New Hampshire Democratic Party chairman Ray Buckley “a role leading DNC operations” in exchange for his endorsement in the race. Asked to comment on this report, a source close to Buckley responded, “The Chairman is still in the race and is keeping all options on the table right now. He wants to make sure whatever he does is in the party’s best interests.”
Beyond that, here is the list of all the endorsements that have been announced by the various candidates over the past several days:
Martin O’Malley, the former governor of Maryland and Democratic presidential candidate, endorsed South Bend mayor Pete Buttigieg to be the next chairman of the Democratic National Committee. O’Malley told Politico:
“I’ve known Pete Buttigieg for many years, he has been a terrific mayor. He’s one of those new, up-and-coming leaders in our country and in our party that’s really bringing forward a new and better way of governing,” O’Malley — who himself briefly considered a run for the chairmanship before bowing out in November — told POLITICO. “He speaks with a clarity that our party really, really needs right now. He has been successful in a so-called red state, he brings to the public service of being mayor the background of having served in our armed forces.”
“He is of a new generation of leadership. Our party sometimes talks about bringing forward a new generation of leadership, well, hey man, there’s never been a better time,” added O’Malley, referring tothe 35-year-old veteran of the war in Afghanistan.
Some context and back story here:
O’Malley briefly considered running for DNC chairman himself very early on but ultimately chose not to get in the race.
Buttigieg rival Tom Perez – a Maryland native – served as O’Malley’s secretary of labor in 2007. That O’Malley is endorsing Buttigieg and not Perez is seen as a snub in some quarters.
O’Malley is endorsing Buttigieg days before the fourth and final DNC regional forum, scheduled to take place in Baltimore – the city where O’Malley was once mayor – this Saturday.
“Progressives need fresh and bold new leadership, like Mayor Pete, to lead the way to regaining the majority in Congress, and the White House,” said Jon Soltz, Iraq War Veteran and Chairman of VoteVets. “Veterans like Pete know how to communicate to so many Americans why it is progressive policies that will keep America safe, and prosperous. Being from the heartland, Pete also knows how to reconnect with huge swaths of the country that Democrats, frankly, have ignored. He has a record of success in Indiana doing just that – not just on a rhetorical level, but on a technical and strategic level, as a great organizer. That’s why he’s exactly the right person to lead the progressive movement, as chair.”
“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.
“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.”
Multiple news organizations are reporting that former vice president Joe Biden has endorsed Tom Perez for DNC chairman. The Perez campaign has not yet sent out an announcement or posted it on social media. According to the Daily Beast, Perez was telling DNC members gathered in Houston last weekend that he had locked down Biden’s support:
Since as recently as last week, Perez had been telling DNC members that he had secured Biden’s endorsement. At the site of last weekend’s DNC forum in Houston, Texas, Perez was discussing the future of the Democratic Party with a private gathering of DNC members. According to two sources familiar with the exchanges, Perez excitedly said, in an apparent effort to drum up more support from DNC members, that the former vice president had his back. “And that’s why Joe Biden is coming out for me next week,” one DNC member recalled Perez saying.
UPDATE: Here’s the tweet from Tom Perez
Today I am proud to have my friend, Joe Biden, as a partner in our ongoing fight to turn around the Democratic Party. pic.twitter.com/kOFQMRcwHV
“This is a stolen seat. The process for Antonin Scalia’s replacement has been delayed by Senate Republicans for nearly a year, and now we have an historically unpopular president who lost the popular vote by three million votes nominating a Scalia clone to the High Court. The American people won’t stand for this, and the Democratic Party will stand in lockstep with them.”
Let's be sure the nomination of Judge Gorsuch is handled with the same fairness that Senate Republicans showed Judge Garland.
“The judge nominated by President Obama for this Supreme Court seat, Merrick Garland, was called ‘a consensus nominee’ by Senator Orrin Hatch. But Senate Republicans refused to even give him a hearing; Mitch McConnell said, ‘Let’s let the American people decide.’ Well, by a margin of almost 3 million, more Americans chose Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump to fill this seat. So President Trump would have been wise to choose a consensus nominee like Merrick Garland. But given Trump’s radical actions since the start of his presidency, we should not be surprised that he has chosen a judge whose record favoring big corporations and opposing civil rights suggests that he is a right-wing zealot. Unless the hearings somehow reveal that Judge Gorsuch’s extreme record will not continue on our nation’s highest court, bring out the cots for a filibuster.”
“I always say that past is prologue, and today President Donald Trump proved that theory true when he announced a nominee just as extreme and divisive as his past 12 days in office. President Trump’s selection of Judge Gorsuch to serve a lifetime term on our nation’s highest court only further cements what we’ve witnessed over the first 12 days of his administration: that he doesn’t give a damn about upholding the Constitution.
“Judge Gorsuch has already led the attack on women’s reproductive health from the bench and would eagerly overturn Roe v. Wade if confirmed. He has an abysmal record on protecting citizens from police brutality and would seriously jeopardize bipartisan efforts toward criminal justice reform. He would similarly dismantle the gains we’ve made for LGBT Americans and serve as a reliable vote in favor of voter suppression on the high court. In short, a Justice Gorsuch would discriminate against a majority of Americans from the bench. This alone is disqualifying.
“And just yesterday, Donald Trump demonstrated that what he’s most concerned with is putting in place sycophants who can’t be trusted to hold him accountable when he breaks the law and violates the Constitution. We should expect nothing less from his judicial nominees.
“Simply put, a Justice Gorsuch on the Supreme Court is intolerable and it’s up to Democrats to block his nomination.
“As I’ve said before, we need to afford Donald Trump the same level of cooperation Mitch McConnell afforded President Obama. That starts with making sure that Judge Gorsuch never sits on the Supreme Court.”
I haven’t seen any statements on Keith Ellison’s campaign and congressional websites or any of his social media accounts. This post will be updated if he issues a statement or makes a public comment.
HOUSTON – “Sign me up for the Resistance,” South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg told an auditorium full of Democratic Party insiders and activists on Saturday afternoon. Several hours later, he and three other candidates running for leadership positions in the Democratic National Committee were in the middle of a protest at George Bush Intercontinental Airport to protest the Trump administration’s executive order on immigration and refugee resettlement.
Also on the scene were former Secretary of Labor Tom Perez and South Carolina Democratic Party Chairman Jaime Harrison, as well as Democratic National Committee Vice Chair Maria Elena Durazo. Buttigieg, Perez and Harrison are candidates running to be the next chairman of the Democratic National Committee. Durazo is running for reelection to her current post. All four were in Houston on Saturday for a regional forum sponsored by the DNC for candidates running for leadership positions ahead of the party’s election scheduled to take place at the end of February.
“I think it’s great that we have the organization and infrastructure, the activity and activism, and the heart and soul to stand up to what Donald Trump is doing,” Durazo said in an interview. “We have never seen this many protests, this many demonstrations in the numbers, in the consecutive days of activity, from Saturday the Women’s March, to Philadelphia, to tonight. It’s unfortunate that the reasons are Donald Trump is signing these executive orders and because he’s so hell-bent on violating our constitutional rights.”
Tom Perez took advantage of his fluency in Spanish and addressed protestors and local media in both languages. “Somos los Estados Unidos, no somos los Estados Divididos.” We are the United States, not the Divided States. It is worth noting one dynamic from the election which probably played a part in Saturday’s protests: the urban-rural split between liberals and conservatives. Because liberals tend to concentrate in large cities, many of which have international airports, that is probably one reason why these protests were able to organize and mobilize so quickly, even in a historically conservative state like Texas.
“We knew this would be a day of reckoning when Donald Trump assumed the Oval Office,” he told protestors. “We didn’t know it would come this fast. Lady Liberty has taken a few body punches, but the American people will fight back.”
“We are that shining beacon on a hill,” Harrison said during an interview. “We will get back to that point once [Donald Trump] is no longer president.”
“Resistance is not futile, resistance is necessary. We cannot allow this man to destroy this great nation, to destroy the reputation that it’s had for generations.”
Buttigieg, who at one point acted as an Arabic-English interpreter for a newly arrived family and the crowd gathered outside the terminal, said during an interview, “Every time there’s another outrage, there’s going to have to be another response.”
“We have to make sure it’s not just reactive to what they do. We got to make sure that we’re building a proactive agenda around freedom, around fairness, around protecting families, and around our future.”
Here’s the field for the second DNC forum. Note that this will be the first appearance by the last four names at the bottom of the list.
Sally Boynton Brown, Idaho
Raymond Buckley, New Hampshire
Pete Buttigieg, Indiana
Keith Ellison, Minnesota
Jehmu Greene, Texas
Jaime Harrison, South Carolina
Honorable Tom Perez, Maryland
Peter Peckarsky, Wisconsin
Sam Ronan, Ohio
Vincent Tolliver, Georgia
Robert Vinson Brannum, Washington, D.C.
Brock’s retreat was planned independently of the Women’s March which took place the day after Donald Trump’s inauguration. If any of them had known that march was going to be as big of an event as it was, they all probably would have gone to the nearest local march. This also raises the issue about the party’s relationship with donors and big money, a question which came up during the first DNC regional forum in Phoenix as well as interviews with the different candidates running for the job. One question to watch in Houston this weekend will be whether Buttigieg uses this issue to distinguish himself from the rest of the candidates.
One other point worth mentioning about the Women’s March: George W. Bush had to start a war two years into his presidency to get that kind of global opposition and protest against him. Donald Trump accomplished it on the second day of his presidency.