Labor Secretary Tom Perez is throwing his hat into the DNC chairmanship ring

President Obama's labor secretary, Tom Perez, wants to lead the Democratic National Committee

By Matthew Rozsa

Staff Writer

Published December 14, 2016 9:39PM (EST)

 (Reuters/Jonathan Ernst)
(Reuters/Jonathan Ernst)

Labor Secretary Tom Perez is expected to announce his candidacy for chairman of the Democratic National Committee on Thursday.

Perez has been under pressure for weeks to emerge as the Democratic Party's first major alternative to Rep. Keith Ellison, the Minnesota congressman who is currently considered the favorite for the position. Ellison's advantage is due in part to his support by Sen. Bernie Sanders and future Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, according to a report by The Washington Post on Tuesday.

Progressives aren't completely sold on Perez.

"Hopefully [Perez] will be attorney general someday," Progressive Change Campaign Committee founder Adam Green told the Chicago Tribune. "His mind is needed on important policy issues, and he could be a leader right now helping Silicon Valley companies figure out a gig economy that works for workers. He has a different set of superpowers than those needed to be the DNC Chair."

Ellison is believed to have committed roughly an eighth of the roughly 450 voting DNC members to his candidacy.

On Wednesday, Ellison, Sanders and the American Federation of Teachers held a joint rally.

As labor secretary, Perez is best known for negotiating a deal between Verizon and striking labor union workers in May, issuing the Home Care Rule that requires home care workers for the disabled and elderly to receive minimum wage and overtime compensation, and implementing the Fiduciary Rule, which forbids retirement advisors from receiving any commissions that create a conflict of interest. He is also known to have supported the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which could hurt his chances among the more progressive voters in his party.


By Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a staff writer at Salon. He received a Master's Degree in History from Rutgers-Newark in 2012 and was awarded a science journalism fellowship from the Metcalf Institute in 2022.

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Democratic National Committee Dnc Chair Keith Ellison Tom Perez