Top Democrats will elect their next national chair on Saturday, a key figure who will try to rally a party still reeling from its presidential election defeat and crippled by down-ballot losses across the country over the last decade.
More than 400 national party leaders will huddle in Atlanta to cast their votes Saturday morning. Committee members will vote until one candidate receives a majority.
In a race that in some ways mirrors the ideological split of the divisive 2016 primary battle, former Labor Secretary Tom Perez and Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison are locked in a close race for the bid.
Perez is backed by many from the former President Obama’s political orbit, including former Vice President Joe Biden, while Ellison garners support from liberals like Sen. Bernie Sanders. But the lines are not black and white. Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer is also backing Ellison and Perez has the support of some labor groups.
Party officials are divided over who is best to equipped to both align themselves with the energized activists protesting in the streets and also devise a cohesive strategy for taking on the President Donald Trump in Washington.
South Bend, Indiana, mayor Pete Buttigieg, who is far from the top tier but gaining momentum after picking up the support of former chair Howard Dean, hopes to become a compromise candidate after several rounds of balloting.