Live updates on the Democratic National Committee chair vote in Atlanta.
With 235 votes, former Labor secretary 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 wins the DNC chairmanship on the second ballot. Ellison received 200 votes.
Former DNC chairman Howard Dean, a Buttigieg backer, sent an email to DNC members saying he will now back Ellison. His statement nods to the earlier controversy of the Ellison campaign claiming they had Buttigieg's endorsement, even though they don't:
"This is Governor Howard Dean. I believe that Keith EllisonKeith EllisonAttorney says ex-officer will testify at trial in Daunte Wright killing Former Rep. Raúl Labrador running for Idaho attorney general Keith Ellison seeking reelection as Minnesota attorney general MORE would be the most likely person to be able to successfully bring in the first global generation to the Democratic Party. (This is real)"
Perez backer tells me they've picked up five and will triumph on second ballot...so long as there is no erosion....— Jonathan Easley (@JonEasley) February 25, 2017
Text from Ellison campaign source: We're gonna win on second ballot...folks who didn't vote and Boynton Brown backes going their way— Jonathan Easley (@JonEasley) February 25, 2017
Perez came very close to winning DNC chair on the first ballot. There were 427 votes cast, making the threshold for victory 214.5 votes. (Some Democrats abroad and from the territories only get half votes.)
Perez received 213.5 votes. Ellison got 200.
The crowd is stunned. A second round of balloting is about to get underway.
Idaho Democrat Boynton Brown dropped out and did not endorse. Air Force veteran Ronan dropped out and backed Ellison. Former DNC official Greene dropped out and backed Perez. Lawyer Petkarsky also dropped out and backed Ellison.
After the first balloting, Perez falls a single vote short of winning. The race will proceed to a second ballot.
Perez received 213.5 votes, one ballot short of the 214.5 threshold to win. Ellison received 200 votes.
The problem: Buttigieg did not publicly endorse Ellison, sowing confusion among members. Two sources have told The Hill that the Ellison camp has corrected the erroneous text.
Adam Green, an Ellison supporter and the founder of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, slammed the decision to use paper ballots. The move could give fuel to Ellison backers to argue that the vote was not on the level.
Paper ballots instead of visible and accountable voting is something Debbie Wasserman SchultzDeborah (Debbie) Wasserman SchultzLobbying world On The Money — Presented by Wells Fargo — Democrats advance tax plan through hurdles Florida Democrat says vaccines, masks are key to small-business recovery MORE would be proud of. #DNCChair @donnabrazile— Adam Green (@AdamGreen) February 25, 2017
The ballots are being collected. Vote counting will begin shortly.
Donna Brazile will not vote for DNC chair That means 441 eligible votes, 221 to win.— Jonathan Easley (@JonEasley) February 25, 2017
DNC has apparently abandoned the electronic voting system here. Paper allots only in election for chair. This could take a while.— Jonathan Easley (@JonEasley) February 25, 2017
South Bend, Ind. mayor Pete Buttigieg drops out of the race, stunning the crowd. He is gay, 35-years-old a Rhodes Scholar, a military veteran and viewed by many as a next generation star of the party.
Buttigieg didn't make an endorsement.
Buttigieg comported himself well at the debate. He is a polished speaker and debate and will have some role in the national party moving forward.
By dropping out instead of being voted out, he was allowed to give a farewell speech in which he encouraged Democrats to “pay attention to communities like ours in the heart of the country not as an exotic species but as everyday Americans.”
Buttigieg encouraged Democrats to engage with the next generation of liberals.
“There’s nothing wrong with our bench, we just haven’t called enough people off the bench and asked them to get on the field,” he said.
It is clear who has the energy here. Ellison’s supporters are loud and in charge and erupting at every chance.
“Don’t mourn organize!,” declared Ellison backer and labor leader Randi Weingarten to an outburst of shouts and applause.
Minnesota Democratic leader Ken Martin followed, noting that Ellison’s district has gone from the lowest turnout in the state to the highest. “This party is going to rise from the ashes under Keith Ellison,” he said, turning out another standing ovation.
Like Perez, Ellison stressed unity.
“Unity is essential, we have to walk out here unified, not just between the candidates but the groups that support all the candidates,” Ellison said.
But if Ellison doesn’t win his enthusiastic supporters are going to be extremely let down.
Perez takes the stage for a spirited address that stressed party unity.
“We are one family and I know we will leave here united today…. no matter who wins I know we’ll cross the finish line together because a united Democratic Party is not only our best hope, it’s a Donald TrumpDonald TrumpMedia giants side with Bannon on request to release Jan. 6 documents Cheney warns of consequences for Trump in dealings with Jan. 6 committee Jan. 6 panel recommends contempt charges for Trump DOJ official MORE nightmare.”
Expect to hear that message a lot today, as Democrats are fearful that the divisions in the party will persist beyond Atlanta.
Allies for the candidates are giving their nominating speeches. Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti goes first, speaking on behalf of Perez, calling him “mi hermano” — "my brother" — and “one of the smartest people I’ve ever known.” Garcetti touted Perez’s work as Labor secretary, saying he repeatedly fought for workers’ rights in California.
South Carolina Democratic chairman Jaime Harrison followed. Harrison pulled out of the race on Thursday to back Perez and his supporters – more than a dozen – all went with him. Many believe they could put Perez over the top.
“When I look at Tom Perez I see a fellow fights, someone who gives me so much hope for my party’s future, for my country’s future, for my son’s future,” Harrison said.
Interim chairwoman Donna Brazile is giving her final speech as party leader.
She asks that the next chair allow her to continue to raise money and do outreach to state parties.
Brazile brought the house down for calling on the next chair to do a “Full and complete investigation into the Russian hack of the election.”
“The Trump administration must be investigated and please continue this work,” Brazile said.
She also brought jokes: “I want to let the next chair know that I sold the car. It was a big SUV and I needed the money.”
Instead, Brazile said she will leave behind a loaded Washington, D.C. metro card.
If things got that heated over a resolution, the event is about to get sent into the stratosphere for the election.
Dems punt on reinstituting corporate lobbyist donations— Jonathan Easley (@JonEasley) February 25, 2017
Ahead of the vote, Democrats will vote on resolutions about corporate and lobbyist influence on the party.
Dems are debating a measure to reaffirm a ban on lobbyist donations to DNC and barring lobbyists from being DNC members— Jonathan Easley (@JonEasley) February 25, 2017
Keith Ellison announces who will nominate him for DNC chair.
Nominating Keith Ellison: labor leader Randi Weingarten, Minn. Dem leader Ken Martin, Alexis Tameron, Chair of the AZ Dems— Jonathan Easley (@JonEasley) February 25, 2017
10: 26 a.m.
The election is a referendum on whether the progressive wing of the party, led by Ellison with support of Bernie SandersBernie SandersSymone Sanders to leave the White House at the end of the year Briahna Joy Gray says Chris Cuomo will return to CNN following scandal Postal Service expansion into banking services misguided MORE, or the Obama-Clinton wing, represented by Perez, will lead the party going forward.
Nina Turner, a DNC member from Ohio and an Ellison supporter, told The Hill this week she's unsure if she can support Perez if he triumphs today.
Here she is talking to the Washington Post:
Nina Turner warns that "the future of the Democratic Party will walk away" if Ellison loses pic.twitter.com/BX8N9Gzz2I— Dave Weigel (@daveweigel) February 25, 2017
Brazile gives the two-minute warning. There are more than 400 DNC members seated up front in the room. Behind them, hundreds of chanting activists.
For Perez: "Who do we want for DNC? Tom Tom Tom Tom!"
For Buttigieg: "Pick Pete!"
For Ellison: "Keith for DNC!"
Brazile is urging everyone to be respectful and take a seat.
The doors have swung open and DNC members and liberal activists are flooding the Atlanta Convention Center hall. It looks like it could get rowdy.
Supporters of Perez are decked out in blue with "Team Tom" signs. Ellison's supporters have staked out a section nearby with green "Keith for DNC signs." Interim chairwoman Donna Brazile is working the room trying to get everyone set.
Nominating Tom Perez for chair today: Eric Garcetti, Mayor of Los Angeles, Jaime Harrison, South Carolina Democratic Party Chair— Jonathan Easley (@JonEasley) February 25, 2017
Jaime Harrison, who dropped out of the race recently himself to back Perez, helps nominate him.
It’s Election Day for Democrats.
The party will elect the new head of the Democratic National Committee on Saturday, a top leadership post for a party that has been cast into the electoral wilderness.
The Hill will post live results here as the votes come in.
President ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaThose on the front lines of climate change should be empowered to be central to its solution The Memo: Trump's justices look set to restrict abortion Minorities and women are leading the red wave MORE’s former Labor secretary Tom Perez is the slight favorite to win. Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), a progressive favorite with the backing of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), is not far behind. Both men have been pumping their whip counts but commitments don’t mean anything at this point, only the hard vote will matter.
Perez and Ellison are angling for the support of the 442 DNC members gathered here at the Atlanta Convention Center. A simple majority is all that is needed to win.
Five other candidates are also on the ballot – Idaho Democratic Party executive director Sally Boynton Brown, South Bend, Ind. Mayor Pete Buttigieg, former DNC official Jehmu Greene, Air Force veteran Sam Ronan and lawyer Peter Peckarsky.
If no candidate wins a majority in the first two rounds of balloting the candidate with the least amount of votes will fall off the ballot in subsequent rounds until the last man or woman is left standing.
The candidates have been in town since Wednesday night, first for a national debate, and later for two full days of furious campaigning that turned the Westin Hotel into ground zero for the Democratic rebuilding project.
This is the first competitive DNC chair race since former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean won the election to lead the national party in 2005.