WASHINGTON – Former Labor Secretary Tom Perez, running for Democratic National Committee chairman, hit Chicago on Friday to woo Illinois members of the DNC, having already picked up the backing of Democratic Party of Illinois chair Mike Madigan.
Attorney General Lisa Madigan and Chicago Park District President Jesse Ruiz hosted a meet and greet for Perez with Illinois DNC members and “Democratic stakeholders so that Perez can share his vision for rebuilding the Democratic Party and taking the fight to Donald Trump,” a Madigan political spokesman told me.
The event was held at Ruiz’s Drinker Biddle & Reath law firm in Chicago.
The two leading contenders for the top party post – elected by the 447 members of the DNC – of which 10 are from Illinois – are Perez and the first Muslim elected to Congress, Rep. Keith Ellison D-Minn.
South Bend Mayor Peter Buttigieg and Jaime Harrison the chair of the South Carolina Democratic Party, have emerged as as the leading alternatives to the better known Perez and Ellison, whose battle is seen as a proxy war between the Obama/Clinton and Sanders/Warren wings of the Democratic party.
Both Bettigieg and Harrison have done Chicago events to rally support.
In Illinois, the voters are DNC members state House Speaker Mike Madigan D-Chicago, the state Democratic party chairman; who is for Perez, his spokesman, Steve Brown said.
THE ILLINOIS DNC SCORECARD SO FAR
Former Rep. Jerry Costello D-Ill., told me he is undecided; Ald. Carrie Austin (34th); state Senate President John Cullerton D-Chicago; Rep. Danny Davis D-Ill.; undecided; former Comptroller Dan Hynes who told me he is leaning Perez; state Sen. Iris Martinez; for Perez; Downstate activist Jayne Mazzotti; Cook County Record of Deeds Karen Yarbrough for Ellison and former state Sen. Carol Ronen D-Chicago, for Perez.
Other influencers: Bill Daley is backing Buttigieg. Former White House Senior Adviser Valerie Jarrett had called Mike Madigan on behalf of Perez. Vice President Joe Biden is for Perez and Jarrett
From Lisa Madigan: “I have known and worked with Tom Perez for nearly 10 years. As head of the Civil Rights Division of DOJ, he was instrumental in reaching landmark settlements of the two largest mortgage discrimination cases against the largest subprime lenders that operated in the Chicago area and nationwide, overcharging Latino and African American homeowners. Under his direction, DOJ’s Civil Rights Division successfully prosecuted former Chicago police commander Jon Burge.
“Tom came to Chicago to lead a summit on hate crimes prosecutions at the Center on Halsted. His passion and commitment to working for justice continued when he became the US Secretary of Labor. He is a strong, smart advocate who is never afraid to fight for what’s right. I know firsthand that Tom has the head and the heart to lead our Party. I am very proud to support my friend Tom.”
From Jesse Ruiz: “I support Tom because he has a long record of principled and impactful leadership, and he is very effective at bringing people together to achieve common goals. This is exactly the kind of leader the DNC needs at this critical juncture.”-