With days until the Democratic party chooses the new leader of the Democratic National Committee, the eight candidates vying for the top spot participated in a CNN debate on Wednesday night to discuss the party's future after experiencing demoralizing losses in the 2016 election.
All eyes were on former Labor Secretary Tom Perez and Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison, who are considered to be the frontrunners for DNC chairman. Perez received the endorsement of former Vice President Joe Biden and President Barack Obama, and is gaining popularity from the heads of the DNC's caucuses for women, Hispanics, Asian-Americans and rural Americans, according to CNN. Ellison meanwhile received the support of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.
'Blasted President Trump'
Candidates avoided firing shots at one another but blasted President Trump instead, offering general promises to rebuild party infrastructure and pledging to reconnect with voters who have abandoned Democratic candidates.
'Democrats and most Americans know which election was rigged'
Candidate Jehmu Greene implied the election had been rigged when she stated "Every Democrat and most Americans ... know which election was rigged."
'Democratic Party needs to take the fight'
President Trump's actions were questioned among candidates. Tom Perez declared the need for a strong Democratic party in order to "take the fight to Donald Trump."
Other contenders at the debate included Indiana mayor Pete Buttigieg, South Carolina Democratic chairman Jaime Harrison, former president of "Rock the Vote" Jehmu Greene, Representative Keith Ellison (D) of Minnesota, Executive Director of the Idaho Democratic party Sally Boynton Brown, attorney from Wisconsin Peter Peckarsky, former labor secretary Tom Perez and Sam Ronan, a U.S. air force veteran.
The debate ended with each candidate sharing why they should be selected to lead the DNC.
The newest leader of the DNC will give the Democratic party a new face after it had experienced a reshuffling of its top leadership in August 2016. Former DNC chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Shultz resigned from the post after WikiLeaks had released a trove of emails suggesting that she exhibited a Clinton bias during the presidential primaries. Then the interim chairwoman, Donna Brazile, allegedly warned the Clinton campaign about one of the questions that would be asked in a debate.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.