Democrats Just Picked Their New Leader

“We’ve got earnest, sincere work to do”

Image via Flickr/Wikipedia

On Saturday, after months of heated debate about who should lead, all 435 voting members of the Democratic National Committee gathered in Atlanta to decide just that. From a field of seven candidates, Democrats elected Tom Perez (pictured right) to chair the DNC in a final vote of 235 to Keith Ellison’s (pictured left) 200.

In the first round of ballots, Tom Perez took the lead with 213.5 votes, while Keith Ellison came in a close second with 200 votes. Neither had enough votes to secure a win, resulting in the second round of ballots that produced Perez as the first Latino Democratic Chair.

In the months leading up to this vote, most saw it as a tight race between Congressman Keith Ellison and former Labor Secretary Tom Perez. Donna Brazile assumed the position of Interim Chair following Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s abrupt resignation. Shortly after the startling election night loss, Brazile received sharp criticism from a young staffer who blamed reigning DNC leaders for failing to listen to aggravated constituents. Since then, she’s made significant efforts to bridge the gap between the party’s more traditional base and its growing legion of activists. The tight race between Ellison, who Bernie Sanders supported, and Perez, a known Clinton supporter, seemed to reflect this clash neatly.

Upon accepting the position, Perez motioned to appoint Keith Ellison as the Deputy Chair of the DNC. Ellison took the floor shortly after, asking Democrats to throw their support behind the new chair. “We don’t have the luxury to walk out of this room divided,” he said. Concluding his speech, he added, “We’ve got earnest, sincere work to do. It’s going to be under the leadership of Chairman Perez, and all of us are going to help him, and all of you are going to help him.”

Watch the live stream of the DNC’s meeting below.

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