The votes are in, and Congressman Keith Ellison came up short in his campaign to be the next chairman of the Democratic Party. Instead, former Labor Secretary Tom Perez will be the next face of the Democratic National Committee.
It took two ballots before the race was decided, but in the end, Perez defeated Ellison by 35 votes. Despite the loss, Ellison is not leaving Atlanta empty-handed. New chair Tom Perez immediately appointed Ellison to be the deputy chair of the DNC.
“The motion I would like to make is a motion suspending rules,” said Perez on Saturday. “To appoint Keith Ellison deputy chair of the Democratic National Committee.”
As a nod to unity, both men are thought to represent different wings of the party. Perez represents the establishment; he was the labor secretary under President Obama, and had the support of figures like former Vice President Joe Biden. Ellison represents the progressive activists; he had the support of people like Senator Bernie Sanders.
Ellison said he urged his supporters to come together to help the American people.
“If we waste even a moment going at it, over who supported who, we’re not going to be standing up for those people,” Ellison said on Saturday. “We don’t have the luxury, folks, to walk out of this room divided.”
Perez takes over a party that has not only lost the White House and congress, but several governorships and state legislatures, including Minnesota’s.
In a statement, the Republican National Committee said democrats have only created more divisions in their party by selecting Perez, calling him a “DC insider.”
Perez is the first Latino to hold the DNC chair post.
Ellison says he looks forward to serving the party in any way he can. He also looks forward to returning to congress to represent the 5th District which includes Minneapolis and some suburbs.