While the Republicans were celebrating conservative victories at this year’s 2017 Conservative Political Action Conference at the Gaylord National Resort just outside of Washington, DC, the Democrats were focusing on the election of a new national chairman.
In Atlanta, Democratic National Committee members elected former Labor Secretary Tom Perez as their new national chairman. Perez, the first Latino to hold the post, narrowly defeated Minnesota Representative Keith Ellison.
According to NPR, the final votes were as follows:
Protests erupted from Ellison supporters in matching green T-shirts, holding campaign signs and chanting, “Not big money, party for the people.”
Perez appointed Ellison deputy chair of the Democratic Party, turning the jeers to cheers, for the most part.
Ellison, after congratulating Perez on the victory, urged his supporters to unite behind the new chairman. “I’m asking you to give everything you’ve got to support Chairman Perez,” he said.
Perez has his work cut out. Democrats, suffering historic electoral losses and divisiveness with their party, must find a way to stop the momentum from Republicans and President Donald Trump.
The President was quick to jibe the Democrats in a tweet soon after the election results were announced.
Perez, a former civil rights attorney, had experienced blowback early on in the election for his support in the now-defunct Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement while serving in former President Barack Obama’s Cabinet. He also stated in an interview with Huffington Post, that he was surprised to learn there wasn’t a full-time director of “protection and empowerment,” claiming, “The Republican playbook is voter suppression.”