Former Labor Secretary Tom Perez edged Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison by 35 votes Saturday to become the head of the Democratic National Committee.
He promptly called President Trump “the worst president in the history of the United States.”
After months of contention that Dems compared to the presidential primary, Perez outlasted the Ellison in the second round of voting in Atlanta, securing 235 votes to Ellison’s 200. Perez had fallen one vote shy of the victory threshold in the first round of voting.
Perez announced he would make Ellison “deputy chairman” of the DNC and embraced him from the podium after the vote.
Ellison wiped away tears, thanked his supporters, and said “We don’t have the luxury of going out of this room divided.”
The former cabinet member earned the endorsements of several Obama administration alums, including former Vice President Joe Biden and former Attorney General Eric Holder. Ellison’s highest profile backer was Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, but he also picked up support from Sen. Chuck Schumer and Mayor de Blasio.
Democrats compared the race to a proxy war since Ellison enjoyed the support of the party’s liberal wing while Perez received support from centrists in the Obama and Clinton camps.
But Ellison, a practicing Muslim, suffered from criticism by pro-Israel organizations and Democratic donors who blasted his past associations with the Nation of Islam.
"I am confident that when we lead lead with our values and lead with our actions, we succeed," Perez says of DNC https://t.co/T5uqoA85rO pic.twitter.com/bW9MRCVDsc
— CBS News (@CBSNews) February 25, 2017
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