U.S. Democrats elected former Labor Secretary Tom Perez as chairman on Saturday, choosing a veteran of the Obama administration to lead the daunting task of rebuilding the party and heading the opposition to Republican President Donald Trump.
Members of the Democratic National Committee, the administrative and fundraising arm of the party, picked Perez on the second round of voting over U.S. Representative Keith Ellison, a liberal from Minnesota.
Following one of the most crowded and competitive party leadership elections in decades, Perez faces a challenge in unifying and rejuvenating a party still reeling from the Nov. 8 loss of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. He immediately made Ellison his deputy.
After losing the presidency and failing to recapture majorities in Congress, party leaders are anxious to channel the growing grassroots resistance to Trump into political support for Democrats at all levels of government across the country.
“We are suffering from a crisis of confidence, a crisis of relevance,” Perez, a favorite of former Obama administration officials, told DNC members. He promised to lead the fight against Trump and change the DNC’s culture to make it a more grassroots operation.