Top Georgia Democrats choose a side in race for DNC chair

DuBose Porter, chairman of the Democratic Party of Georgia. AJC file

DuBose Porter, chairman of the Democratic Party of Georgia. AJC file

The Democratic Party of Georgia’s two top officials endorsed former U.S. Labor Secretary Thomas Perez’s bid to lead the Democratic National Committee, saying Friday he’s the best candidate to bring the newly-energized party’s fight “straight to Donald Trump’s doorstep.”

State party chair DuBose Porter and vice-chair Nikema Williams announced their endorsement of Perez a week before DNC members arrive in Atlanta to pick between 10 candidates in the running to rebuild the fractured party.

The two said in a joint statement that their decision was not easy, but Perez is “best suited for the monumental tasks ahead.”

“Secretary Perez has made a commitment to the return of the 50-state strategy strengthening the Democratic Party from the ground up by strengthening state parties, recently using Georgia’s victories in Cobb and Gwinnett as examples,” read their statement.

“Secretary Perez has never shied away from a fight, and we need that fight brought straight to Donald Trump’s doorstep,” it added. “He has the vision, he has the record, and he has our support to lead the DNC.”

The fight over DNC chair has all the makings of a repeat of the bruising Democratic primary, where an establishment-backed Hillary Clinton squared off against Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders’ insurgent campaign.

 



 

This time, Sanders and other progressive powerbrokers are backing Rep. Keith Ellison’s bid for DNC chair, as are party heavyweights like Sens. Chuck Schumer and Elizabeth Warren. Perez has support from allies of Clinton and former President Barack Obama.

Other leading contenders in the race include Jamie Harrison, the head of the South Carolina Democratic Party, Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of the Indiana city of South Bend, and Sally Boynton Brown of the Idaho Democratic Party.

The battle has divided many Georgia politicians. Former Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin and current Mayor Kasim Reed have also endorsed Perez, while Rep. John Lewis officially endorsed Ellison. He called the Minnesota Democrat “a trusted partner to harness this protest energy into rebuilding Democratic Party.”


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