2017 DNC Chair and Officer Elections: Perez New DNC Chair – Ellison New DNC Deputy Chair

The Democratic National Committee held their 2017 Winter Meeting this past week in Atlanta to elect DNC Officers. Tom Perez and Keith Ellison emerged as the favorites with first round voting results of 213.5 votes for Perez and 200 for Ellison. Second round voting results gave a win to Tom Perez with 235 votes and 200 votes for Keith Ellison.

Perez, former U.S. Secretary of Labor from 2013 to 2017, is the first Latino leader of the Democratic Party. He is the son of immigrant parents and has been a progressive advocate for workers, a community organizer, and union supporter. As a sign of unity, Perez’s first motion was to appoint Ellison as Deputy Chair:

“I would like to begin by making a motion, it is a motion that I have discussed with a good friend, and his name is Keith Ellison,” Perez said during his acceptance speech, announcing the appointment.

“Did I hear a second?” asked Perez.

“Second!” the DNC audience shouted.

Newly appointed DNC Deputy Chair, Keith Ellison, also an organizer and progressive advocate for the working class, spoke to DNC members about unifying the Party:

“We don’t have the luxury to walk out of this room divided,” Ellison said.

Election of remaining officers followed the Chair elections. The new DNC Leadership is listed below:

  • Chair: Tom Perez, former U.S. Secretary of Labor under Barack Obama
  • Deputy Chair: Keith Ellison, U.S. Representative from Minnesota’s 5th congressional district
  • Vice Chair of Civic Engagement and Voter Participation: Karen Carter Peterson
  • Vice Chairs:
    • Michael Blake, New York Assemblyman
    • Maria Elena Durazo, Executive Secretary–Treasurer of the AFL-CIO
    • Grace Meng, U.S. Representative from New York’s 6th congressional district
  • Treasurer: Bill Derrough
  • Secretary: Jason Rae
  • Finance Chair: Henry Muñoz III

Position of chair

The chair of the DNC is charged with carrying out the party’s policies and overseeing the Democratic National Convention. One of the main functions of the party chair is to raise money for the party and to direct where that money is spent in local, state, and federal races. The 2017 chair race is notable because it is the first contested chair race since 2005. When Democrats have controlled the White House, a Democratic president typically recommends a chair and the party members approve that choice. [1]

  1. Democratic National Committee, “Bylaws,” accessed February 8, 2017