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Saturday 23 September 2017

Tom Perez elected head of US Democrats in wake of election defeat

Tom Perez said Democrats face 'a crisis of confidence' and a 'crisis of relevance' (AP file/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
Tom Perez said Democrats face 'a crisis of confidence' and a 'crisis of relevance' (AP file/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

Tom Perez is the new national party chairman of the US Democrats.

Mr Perez beat Keith Ellison in the second round of voting by Democratic National Committee members at their meeting in Atlanta.

Mr Perez, labour secretary under former president Barack Obama, gave a speech before the vote, saying Democrats face "a crisis of confidence" and a "crisis of relevance".

He pledged to "take the fight" to President Donald Trump and "right-wing Republicans".

The Democrats' power-deficit is stark.

Republicans occupy the White House, run both chambers of Congress and control about two-thirds of US state houses.

Mr Perez and Mr Ellison, a congressman from Minnesota, each pledged to rebuild state and local parties, including in Republican-dominated states.

Both said the party must capitalise on widespread opposition to Mr Trump but also work to reach frustrated working-class voters who felt abandoned by Democrats and embraced Mr Trump.

Mr Obama said: "Perez will unite us under that banner of opportunity, and lay the groundwork for a new generation of Democratic leadership for this big, bold, inclusive, dynamic America we love so much."

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