Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez has come under increased fire since the chaotic Iowa caucuses and now a key House Democrat wants him gone.
Rep. Marcia Fudge, the chairwoman of the House Administration Committee’s subpanel on elections, joined a growing list of Democratic voices calling out Perez for showing “no leadership” in the Iowa vote-counting fiasco this week.
“It’s a lack of leadership,” the Ohio Democrat told The Hill on Friday. “If you have the Iowa situation you don’t throw them under the bus, you stand up and you support and you try to fix it. He doesn’t lead on anything.”
“I absolutely have seen no leadership — since Day One,” she added.
Fudge minced no words about Perez’s failures in other areas as well.
“You know, they’re always talking about how diversity is important,” the former head of the Congressional Black Caucus said, noting the DNC chairman’s broken promise to add minority leaders. “He doesn’t care anything about diversity. It’s just lip service.”
Fudge cited this week’s dramatic shakeup with Milwaukee’s host committee for the 2020 Democratic National Convention as two leaders were fired over accusations from staffers on a “toxic work environment,” according to Wisconsin Public Radio.
Fudge did not offer any names for a replacement for Perez but noted she sought “just somebody who can run an organization [and] be responsive to the people that he serves.”
The Iowa Democratic Party and its chair Troy Price took the blame for the Iowa debacle but many saw a problem with Perez seeming to distance himself while using lower-ranking party leaders in Des Moines as scapegoats.
“It was very frustrating to not hear from the DNC for 48 hours, except for them throwing Troy under the bus,” Tina Podlodowski, chair of the Washington state Democrats, told Politico, recalling her frustrations as Perez was invisible in the mess and as Price faced the wrath alone.
Perez drove another wedge in relationships as he called for a recanvass of the Iowa caucuses voters were still being counted.
Enough is enough. In light of the problems that have emerged in the implementation of the delegate selection plan and in order to assure public confidence in the results, I am calling on the Iowa Democratic Party to immediately begin a recanvass.
— Tom Perez (@TomPerez) February 6, 2020
“This was a major league failure, [Price] owned up to it. And we’ve been there with him ever since,” Perez said in an MSNBC interview Thursday night, angering more in his comments criticizing the IDP while not taking any responsibility for the national party’s role.
CNN’s John Berman asked Perez on Friday, “how much of this is on you?”
“Well, again, the Iowa Democratic Party runs the caucus,” Perez replied, dodging the question.”Okay? And they — what happened was unacceptable.”
DNC Chairman Tom Perez throws the Iowa Democratic Party under the bus.
Berman: “How much of this is on you, chairman?”
Perez: “Well, again, the Iowa Democratic Party runs the caucus. Okay? And they — what happened was unacceptable.” pic.twitter.com/0Ep9ZQzG8S
— Julio Rosas (@Julio_Rosas11) February 7, 2020
Mississippi Rep. Bennie Thompson told Politico that Perez’s leadership was “virtually nonexistent … It’s just a matter of time before he’s going to go.”
Some prominent Democratic names supporting 2020 presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., all demanded more accountability following the Iowa caucuses.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez did not specifically say Perez needed to be ousted but was highly critical of what happened.
“What’s happened in Iowa is a complete disgrace and someone needs to be held responsible,” the New York Democrat told The Hill. “I think there’s a conversation needed around taking responsibility for Iowa and ensuring that this bungled process never happens again.”
Rep. Ilhan Omar was more direct.
“I would say Tom Perez should be held accountable for this failure. I believe it all starts from the top. There are things that Tom should do and should have done,” the Minnesota congresswoman said Friday. “If this was happening in my home state, we would be having a serious conversation about what accountability would look like for our own chair.”
“I’m sure there is shared blame to go around. I don’t think we should blame just one person,” Washington Rep. Pramila Jayapal said. “But Tom Perez is the head of the DNC, and I do think that there clearly was not the process in place to make sure all these [protocols] were going to be followed.”
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