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Some prominent members of the the Democratic National Committee's (DNC) are frustrated with the party's new slate of at-large delegates.
The moves have drawn criticism the progressive-leaning Democrats who feel the staff shakeup is retribution for their opposition to its new Chairman Tom PerezThomas PerezClinton’s top five vice presidential picks Government social programs: Triumph of hope over evidence Labor’s 'wasteful spending and mismanagement” at Workers’ Comp MORE during February's chairman race.
NBC News first reported the grumblings over Perez's slate of at-large members on Wednesday night.
Perez made his picks for the DNC's at-large positions ahead of this week's fall meeting in Las Vegas. In some cases, Perez tapped those who had supported Rep. Keith EllisonKeith EllisonMinnesota AG ups charges against ex-police officer in shooting of Daunte Wright Trump campaign, RNC refund donors another .8 million in 2021: NYT Attorneys general looking into online fundraising practices MORE (D-Minn.), who ran against Perez in the DNC race earlier this year. But in others, prominent members who supported Ellison during the chair race or Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersOvernight Energy & Environment — Presented by the League of Conservation Voters — EPA finalizing rule cutting HFCs Manchin fires warning shot on plan to expand Medicare Democrats steamroll toward showdown on House floor MORE (I-Vt.) during the presidential race, saw themselves demoted.
Those DNC members include Ray Buckley, James Zogby, Alice Germond and Barbra Casbar Siperstein, who supported Ellison, who ran against Perez for the chairmanship, or Sanders.
Buckley, who ran against Perez for the top DNC role before endorsing Ellison, was pushed out of his positions on the DNC's Executive Committee and Rules Committee, NBC News reported.
"I understand the chair can do as he pleases, but still, it's all just very disappointing," Buckley told the news outlet.
"It is quite unusual for a former party officer who has been serving on the DNC for forever to just be left out in the cold without even a call from the chairman," said Germond, who had served on the DNC since the 1980s. "So I assumed it had something to do with myself support for Keith."
Zogby tweeted his disappointment on Thursday, arguing that "this doesn't bring the party together. It deepens the divide at a time we need all hands on deck for '18 & '20."
The DNC denied that the shake-up was done with politics in mind, saying the changes were aimed at diversifying the party’s leadership and bringing new people into the fold.
"This year's slate of at-large DNC member nominees reflects the unprecedented diversity of our party’s coalition," DNC spokesman Michael Tyler told NBC.
The slate of 75 at-large DNC members doubles millennial and Native American representation while increasing the number of LGBT members.
It also increases the number of Puerto Rican members as the island works to recover from devastating hurricane damage. The list also includes some more progressive names like former spokeswoman Symone Sanders and Ellison himself. And Royce West, the Texas state senator who vocally supported Ellison during the chair race, was also named to the executive committee alongside Ellison, who was tapped by Perez to serve as the DNC's deputy chairman earlier this year.
But critics charge that the at-large slate and committee appointments are a step backward in the push to unify the party after a contentious primary.
The announcement came on the heels of news that some DNC members are promoting a resolution that would urge Sanders to register as a Democrat, a proposal Sanders supporters dismissed as a distraction.
Jane Kleeb, the Nebraska Democratic Party chair who also serves on the party's unity commission, told The Hill that nothing is final because DNC must vote to confirm the slate.
"There is ongoing discussion with other state chairs and leaders on next steps which could include asking to table Chair Perez nominations and opening it up to Democrats who want to run for those spots," she said.
"You achieve unity through transparency and fairness. We need both grassroots Democrats and elders of the Party who deeply understand the internal process engaged in our Party operations. I do not know who or why the nominations coming from Chair Perez happened, and I respect his leadership to put up these names. However, it’s time for us to open up the process to the people."