Democrats in the House and big party donors are expressing doubts about Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez.
Perez was supposed to shepherd in a new era of prosperity after former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton lost to President Donald Trump, but members within his own party think he has lacked the assertiveness and tenacity needed to accomplish that goal. Democrats had their weakest fundraising month in July since 2007, notably raising over $6 million less than their Republican counterparts.
Prominent Democratic donors say they never hear from Perez, and that he does not bring that much excitement or cause of celebration.
“I’ve never heard from him. Not once,” one donor told The Hill. “If you want to show strength, you personally reach out to all the big fundraisers.”
Some question Perez for taking a teaching position at Brown University while serving as DNC chair, arguing that leading the party nationally is more than a full-time job.
Democrats in the House are also speaking out against Perez, claiming he definitely has room for improvement.
“There’s a lot of room for improvement,” Rep. Luis Gutiérrez of Illinois told the Hill. “Part of the problem is that when you’re a parachutist into the party [and] you didn’t work yourself up the party chain and in the trenches, I think you’re going to have problems, especially with [what] is still a very divisive and contested match.”
Some House Democrats, like Rep. Ruben Gallego of Arizona, believe Perez is in a difficult spot and that it is just taking him some time to adjust.
“He’s going around the country. Obviously, it’s hard to fundraise without having a president, or control of the House or the Senate. So he’s going to be a little bit slower, and also I think the closer we get to election cycles things will pick up,” Gallego said.
Perez took over for Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz of Florida in 2016.
Former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said the DNC was a “worthless” organization under Schultz that did not do enough to help Democrats win.
“I believe one of the failures of Democratic Party has been the Democratic National Committee, the DNC, has been worthless,” Reid said in December 2016. “They do nothing to help state parties. That should be the main goal they have. I developed everything in Nevada on my own. Their help was relatively meaningless.”
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