Democrats Elect Tom Perez as Party Chairman

Former Labor secretary, backed by party establishment, defeated Keith Ellison from the party’s populist wing

To help heal the division, Mr. Perez in declaring victory immediately appointed Mr. Ellison as the party’s vice chairman. Mr. Ellison practically begged his supporters to remain in the party and back Mr. Perez.

.. “It is imperative that Tom understands that the same-old, same-old is not working and that we must open the doors of the party to working people and young people in a way that has never been done before,” Mr. Sanders said.

..Keith Ellison was uniquely qualified to transform that anger and fear into political power and organization.”
.. Despite Mr. Ellison’s grass-roots support, large segments of the DNC remained mistrustful of Mr. Sanders, a registered independent whose supporters are aiming to transform the party by installing his acolytes in party posts.
.. The Perez victory ends a four-month campaign to lead the party that few Democrats had expected. Had Mrs. Clinton been elected president, as virtually all DNC members here thought would happen, she would have served as the head of the party and named the new leadership.
.. Mr. Perez has a résumé long on government experience and short on political campaigning.
.. Mr. Perez worked in the Justice Department’s civil-rights division under President Bill Clinton and during President Barack Obama’s first term. In 2013, Mr. Obama named Mr. Perez to lead the Labor Department, a post that made him a favorite of labor unions and liberal activists. But as a member of the Obama cabinet, Mr. Perez backed the Trans Pacific Partnership and other trade deals opposed by the party’s base.
.. He entered the DNC race weeks after Mr. Ellison with the encouragement of Obama allies
.. Haim Saban, an Israeli-American donor who funded the construction of the DNC’s Washington headquarters, in December publicly called Mr. Ellison “clearly an anti-Semite.”
.. Mr. Perez’s association with Mr. Obama and Mrs. Clinton was a liability for him with liberals and new voters brought to the party by Mr. Sanders’s presidential campaign. These voters are looking for a revamp of a party structure they see as too beholden to corporate interests.
.. Mr. Perez adopted much of the rhetoric of the Sanders movement and other critics of the Obama-era DNC, calling for a return to an emphasis on grass roots organizing, and a 50-state strategy that does more to channel money to state parties. Behind the scenes, though, Mr. Perez drew on the strength of the Obama network. He was endorsed by former Vice President Joe Biden and former Attorney General Eric Holder. Obama confidante Valerie Jarrett made phone calls to wavering DNC members.