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Tom Perez: Dems Need to Focus on the Three Things We're Good At, Not Running Elections

AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty

Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez admitted that the Iowa Caucuses were a disaster and the outcome thus far is "undeniably unacceptable."

"Is it time for the DNC just to say to the state Democratic Parties: no more caucuses, we can't have this being run by parties and by volunteers, it needs to be state election officials?" CNN's Jake Tapper asked Perez.


Perez agreed that state election officials, not volunteers, are the ones who should be running the elections. 

"One of the conversations we had after the 2016 election, in addition to the superdelegate reform to return power to the people, is we incentivized states to go from caucuses to primaries," he explained. "There were 14 states four years ago that held caucuses. Seven of them are now primary states. Iowa chose to keep their caucus status and I think what we learned from all of this and the mistakes that were made, it's undeniably unacceptable."

The DNC chairman said at the end of the 2020 election cycle the party will have a conversation about whether or not state parties should be running these elections.

"We are really good at building parties, building and organizing, building the best voter file, winning elections and we've done that in 2017, '18 and '19," Perez said. "That's our sweet spot as a party."

Perez admitted that running elections is a downfall for the Democrats. 

Tapper pointed out that Perez keeps saying "it's time for a conversation" but isn't saying that a massive change needs to take place.

"Isn't it time for the DNC to say, 'That's it. No more caucuses, no parties doing this, no volunteers. It is official DNC policy to have primaries and have state election officials do this?'" Tapper asked.

Perez did, however, bring up the issue with turning all caucuses into primaries.


"One of the challenges and the reason we don't – we didn't do that in our most recent conversation about this, you need to pass a state law to have a state-run primary," he explained. "And there are some states that still have caucuses, where I'm not sure the Republican governor would sign a law to have the election. So that's a challenge. If a state won't pass the law, and in those seven states that I mentioned that moved from caucus to primary, they had a bill that was passed in their legislature and they moved forward."

"I think it's abundantly clear, Jake, and it's one of the lessons of last week, is that we should do, as a Democratic Party, the things that we do well, and that is building and organizing, building coalitions [and] winning elections," he said.

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