It will be official Thursday. Labor secretary Tom Perez is entering the race to become the next chair of the Democratic National Committee.
Perez, who was also a former civil rights attorney, has invited numerous supportive and non-committed DNC members to a conference call on Thursday at 2:00pm. The invitation indicates 10 state party chairs are already committed to his candidacy.
Perez’s entrance into the race could mark a strong challenge to Rep. Keith Ellison – who has been in the lead in terms of endorsements and momentum. However, not many candidates have chosen to officially enter and Perez is in a remarkably strong position.
Being the current labor secretary inside the Obama White House, Perez boasts strong ties within D.C. circles. He was also a finalist to become Clinton’s presidential running mate – giving him a network inside the Clinton camp. These are the same people who are livid at Bernie supporters (Ellison was one of them) for hurting Clinton during the Democratic primary. This certainly gives Perez an opening to succeed in the race.
Despite the AFL-CIO already endorsing Ellison, the current U.S. labor secretary is adored by labor groups and his existence in the race will surely throw a monkey wrench inside Ellison’s labor base.
The incoming announcement is great news for the Republican governor of Maryland, Larry Hogan. Hogan is up for re-election in his deep blue state and Perez has been considering challenging him in 2018. A cabinet member would be a formidable candidate. To be fair, Hogan is one of the most popular governors in America.
This is perhaps one reason Perez is opting to run for DNC chair, instead.