Brown grad, former labor secretary Perez picked as new DNC chairman

Tom Perez
FILE - In this Sept. 29, 2014 file photo, then-Labor Secretary Tom Perez speaks in the South Court Auditorium in the White House compound in Washington. National Democrats will elect a new chair whose task is to steady a reeling party and capitalize on the widespread opposition to Republican President Donald Trump. Leading contenders in the Saturday, Feb. 25, 2017, vote are Perez and Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File)

ATLANTA (AP) — Democrats have a new national party chairman and it’s Tom Perez, who was labor secretary under President Barack Obama.

Perez won over Keith Ellison, a Minnesota congressman, in the second round of voting Saturday by Democratic National Committee members at their meeting in Atlanta.

Perez gave a speech before the vote, and he said Democrats face “a crisis of confidence” and a “crisis of relevance.” He pledged to “take the fight” to 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 U.S. statehouses.

Perez and Ellison each pledged to rebuild state and local parties, including in Republican-dominated states. Both said the party must capitalize on widespread opposition to Trump but also work to reach frustrated working-class voters who felt abandoned Democrats and embraced Trump.