DNC Leadership Split Between Personal Pursuits, Party Duties


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When Tom Perez campaigned for the Democratic National Committee chair in December 2016, he distinguished himself from Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison by arguing that he would devote all his time to helping the party recover from its disastrous performance in the 2016 elections.

Perez at the time described the DNC position as a “full-time job” and emphasized the need “to have someone committed here for the long haul” leading the party.

Fast-forward 18 months and Perez is the DNC chair, Ellison is his number two, and they both have divided their time between personal pursuits and working for the cash-strapped DNC.

Ellison on Tuesday filed to run for attorney general of Minnesota in November and expressed enthusiasm at the opportunity to take on President Donald Trump.

“It was attorneys general who led the fight against the Muslim ban,” Ellison, the nation’s first Muslim congressman, told The Associated Press Tuesday. “I want to be a part of that fight.” Ellison will remain the DNC’s vice chair while campaigning for attorney general, he told the AP. 

Ellison’s entry into the attorney general race is the latest evidence that the DNC is in disarray, Republican National Committee spokesperson (RNC) Steve Guest told The Daily Caller News Foundation.

“The Democratic Party is divided, lacks a positive message, and now both of its leaders are only working part-time,” said Guest, a former Daily Caller reporter. “If Ellison is so frustrated about being in the House minority, does that mean he has serious doubts about Democrats’ ability to win in 2018?”

Ellison has been juggling his DNC and congressional duties since February 2017. “But he’s been chafing for months at both roles: being in the minority in Congress and being subsumed to DNC Chairman Tom Perez, who beat him for the top job,” Politico reported on Monday.

A spokesperson for the DNC did not return TheDCNF’s email asking how Ellison’s new commitment will affect his work as the party’s deputy chair.

Perez in September 2017 joined Brown University’s Watson Institute as a senior fellow for the 2017-2018 school year. Perez’s teaching load this past spring consisted of teaching a seven-week seminar as well as appearing at events on partisanship and the legacy of former President Barack Obama.

The DNC chair is currently listed as the institute’s “Senior Fellow in International and Public Affairs.” The institute did not return a voicemail inquiring whether Perez would continue his teaching fellowship in the Fall 2018 semester. Perez did not return an inquiry sent to his university email address.

The DNC has been chaotic under Perez and Ellison, who represent two opposing factions in the Democratic Party: Perez, the Democratic establishment, and Ellison the party’s socialist wing. (RELATED: Keith Ellison Calls For NFL Boycott Over Ban On Anthem Protests)

The two have butted heads over the party’s decision to interfere in key Democratic primaries ahead of the November midterms.

Ellison has argued that the DNC should remain neutral in Democratic primaries and even declined to endorse his own brother. Perez eschewed that approach and threw the party’s weight behind New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, an establishment favorite.

The Minnesota congressman’s ties to controversial figures have also caused public relations issues for the DNC.

Ellison misled the public for years about his relationship with Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, The Daily Caller reported and The Washington Post confirmed.

Follow Hasson on Twitter @PeterJHasson

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