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Perez and Ellison agree on DNC playing neutral role in primary

Perez and Ellison agree on DNC playing neutral role in primary
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Both front-runners to lead the Democratic National Committee (DNC), Rep. Keith Ellison (Minn.) and former Labor Secretary Tom Perez, agreed to stay neutral in party primaries. 
 
As the dust settles on a 2016 presidential primary where evidence of favoritism within the DNC drove a wedge into the party and cost it its chairwoman, both candidates preached a hands-off approach on primaries. 
 
But South Carolina Democratic Party Chairman Jaime Harrison bucked that idea, arguing that brutal primaries hurt Democrats' chances of winning races. 
 
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It's an easier pitch for Ellison, who is the favorite of the progressive wing that is restless about potential primary challenges against establishment Democrats who are backing some of President TrumpDonald TrumpIran claims U.S. to lift all oil sanctions but State Department says 'nothing is agreed' Ivanka Trump, Kushner distance themselves from Trump claims on election: CNN Overnight Defense: Joint Chiefs chairman clashes with GOP on critical race theory | House bill introduced to overhaul military justice system as sexual assault reform builds momentum MORE's priorities. But it's a tougher spot for Perez, who has more support among the establishment wing that worries tough primaries could hurt the party's chances in general elections. 
 
"The role of the DNC chair is to let the process run its course, and we move forward when the general election moves ahead," Perez said. 
 
"I'm confident that this year, if you look across this country right now … this energy is electric. Jan. 20 was undeniably an important day, but Jan. 21 and beyond was more important because people were rising up and saying Donald Trump does not stand for our values.” 
 
 
“The role of the DNC is to be neutral and fair to all primary contestants," he said. 
 
"I will make a personal call and say, ‘Let’s not kill each other off, guys,’ but I will not publicly shame any Democrat in a primary."
 
But while both Perez and Ellison said they'd support neutral primaries, Harrison took another route. Noting that Republicans need just seven more Senate seats in 2018's tough map for Democrats to reach a filibuster-proof majority, and control of one more state to call a constitutional convention, he argued that effort spent on primaries will only hurt the party in the fall. 
 
“If Democrats want to be in a permanent minority, let’s spend all the time fighting each other. But if we want to fight against Donald Trump, then fight against Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzNew Jersey governor tweaks Cruz on Cancun over moving truck quip Hirono tells Ted Cruz to stop 'mansplaining' Senate Republicans: Newly proposed ATF rules could pave way for national gun registry MORE, fight against the Republicans who are up," he said. 
 
"We don’t have the time or energy, and all the people we are fighting for don’t have time for this purity test."
 
Leaked DNC emails from 2016 showed some party staffers working to favor Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonCommunion vote puts spotlight on Hispanic Catholics Trump's biggest political obstacle is Trump The Memo: Some Democrats worry rising crime will cost them MORE's presidential bid, while others went as far as suggesting that news organizations look into potentially damaging stories for Sanders's campaign. 
 
That led to resignations within the DNC, including then-Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, a congresswoman from Florida.