DemDaily: A Forum for Five

December 20, 2016
With the Electoral College vote now behind us, and the reality of a Trump inauguration 30 days away, Democrats are refocusing their energies on the election of our next Party Chair and the individual who will lead us into a critical period in our Party's 188 year history.
In the wake of the 2016 election, the choice of DNC Chair becomes a statement on the direction and future of a Party that is need of rebuilding and reconnecting to a broader constituency.
In an aggressive effort to include Democrats nationwide in the process, the Democratic Party announced the DNC Future Forum Tour which will feature candidates running for the next Party Chair and other national officers.
The officers of the Party are elected by the National Committee members. Under the Party's Charter and Bylaws, the DNC has nine officers. In addition to the Chair, the DNC has five Vice Chairs (including the President of the Association of State Democratic Chairs, elected by that body), a Treasurer, a Secretary, and a National Finance Chair.

 Similar to the public forums held on the Party Platform prior to the Democratic Convention, the tour will provide an opportunity for candidates to listen to the American people, and show their commitment to key issues that matter most to working families.

The first of four forums will kickoff January 13th in Phoenix, Arizona at the Sheraton Grand Phoenix Hotel, and culminate with the election of the new Chair and Officers at the DNC Meeting the weekend of February 23-26 in Atlanta, Georgia.

Tentative Forum Schedule:
  • January 13-14th in Phoenix, Arizona
  • January 27th- 28th in Houston, Texas
  • February 3rd-4th in Detroit, Michigan
  • February 10th-11th in Baltimore, Maryland
All regional forums will be open to the public and streamed live. Send your input on the new chair to: http://my.democrats.org/Rebuild
The Process
There are 447 DNC members, a quarter of the which are state level Chairs and Vice Chairs, and the remainder elected at the state level. To be elected as DNC Chair a simple majority of 224 votes is required.

The Job
The new Chair will serve as the leading voice of opposition to the new Republican White House, Senate and House. In addition to being the party's primary fundraiser and strategist, he or she will also need to craft a path to victory for the 2018 midterms and 2020 presidential election.
The new DNC Chair will replace interim Chair Donna Brazile.
The Candidates
Labor Secretary Tom Perez's entry into the race immediately thrusting him into the mix as a top contender.
In a December 15th conference call with voting members of the DNC, Perez said that his executive experience and organizing background made him uniquely qualified to be the next DNC Chair.
"The Democratic Party is a complex organization. We had a lot of experience in building one Department of Labor, with all of our oars in the water in synchronicity. We need to build one Democratic Party, too."
Perez' candidacy places labor unions in a difficult spot, many of which have already endorsed Ellison - including the AFL-CIO, the umbrella organization for most of the country's unions.  Perez, who is the highest ranking Hispanic in the Obama Administration, appears to have the unofficial backing of the White House, and has been endorsed by the International Association of Firefighters.

Sally Boynton Brown, Executive Director of the Idaho Democratic Party

Another recent entry is Sally Boynton Brown, ED of the Idaho Democratic Party and the President of the Association of State Democratic Executive Directors.
Boynton Brown, the only woman in the race, said Perez's decision to enter the race was her final motivation. "Ultimately, that's exactly why I got into the race. The last thing that our party, and especially our country, really needs is for us to be having an ideological conversation between Bernie folks and Obama-Hillary folks about whether we're going to be liberal or whether we're going to be moderate."
Congressman Keith Ellison

The Minnesota Congressman is considered the leading contender with the endorsements of key elected officials, including Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (NV), Senators Chuck Schumer (NY), Bernie Sanders (VT) and Elizabeth Warren (MA), as well as the support of 20+ fellow Members of Congress and a list of state and local party, union and organizational leaders.

Ellison, 53, was re-elected to his sixth term in Congress in November, serves as Co-Chair of the Progressive Caucus and sits on the House Financial Services and House Democratic Steering Committees. The first Muslim to be elected to Congress, he also served in the State Legislature from 2003 to 2007. Ellison has stated he will relinquish his Congressional seat if elected Chair.

South Carolina Democratic Party Chair Jaime Harrison

Harrison, 40, is a lawyer, lobbyist and long-time political operative with Hill and state political experience. Considered a moderate, he would be the youngest DNC chair in the party's history if elected.
He has served as Chair of the South Carolina Democratic Party since 2013, and was also the first African-American to be elected to the position in the Palmetto state.
New Hampshire Democratic Party Chair Ray Buckley
Ray Buckley, 57, is a former eight-term state legislator and current Chair of the New Hampshire Democratic Party, President of the Association of State Democratic Chairs (ASDC), and Vice Chair of the DNC.
Buckley, who is a veteran of the "party trenches," has served as NH Party Chair since 2007 and is credited with turning New Hampshire blue. He has the support of his state's elected leaders, which is "the first all-female, all-Democratic congressional delegation in our country's history."
For more info on the DNC Elections, go toDNC Election FAQs
DemList will keep you posted!
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Sources: Wikipedia, Politico, The Hill, The American Prospect

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