MINNESOTA DEMOCRATIC CONGRESSMAN KEITH ELLISON lost his bid to become the chair of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) on Saturday after a scorched-earth smear campaign targeting his religious faith, his affinity for the Nation of Islam in his youth, and his support for Palestinian rights alongside a secure Israel.
Instead, the majority of the DNC’s voting members chose former labor secretary Tom Perez to lead the party. After two rounds of voting in Atlanta, Perez netted 235 votes to Ellison’s 200.
Perez was widely perceived as being brought into the race by allies of President Obama, former Democratic Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, and other members of the party establishment. One of the speakers who introduced his nomination, South Carolina Democratic Party Chair Jamie Harrison, also works as a corporate lobbyist for the D.C.-based Podesta Group. After neither candidate hit a majority of votes in the first round of voting, Harrison was on the floor, whipping votes for Perez.
Ellison — a black man, a Bernie Sanders supporter, and the first Muslim elected to Congress — earned initial support from many Democrats until a strong backlash from the Obama and Clinton camps and prominent pro-Israeli activists.Zaid Jilani @ The Intercept.