The Democratic party has elected former Labor Secretary Tom Perez to serve as the next chairman of the Democratic National Committee, according to the Associated Press. The vote came during a 'Winter DNC Meeting" in Atlanta, Georgia.
Until the formal announcement on Saturday, the outcome of the vote was difficult to predict, with former Labor Secretary Tom Perez and Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison proving to be equally strong contenders of a rather competitive and crowded field.
In his remarks, Perez motioned to elect Ellison as the deputy chairman--a position that was spontaneously created.
"Allow me congratulate our chair on successfully passing his first motion," Ellison said while smiling. "We don't have the luxury to walk out of this room divided," he added.
Perez had to reach a 50 percent threshold to be declared the next chairman. He collected 235 votes during the second round of voting, CNN reported.
Exuding a confident and spirited demeanor, Perez promised to appeal beyond the electors of the Democratic party.
"We need to make house calls, we need to listen to people," he said. "We need to get back to basics, and we need to move forward because I am confident, my friends, I am confident that when we lead with our values, and when we lead with our actions, we succeed. That is what the Democratic party has always been about."
While rallying morale against President Donald Trump, Perez acknowledged the current state of the party.
"We are suffering from a crisis of confidence, a crisis of relevance," he declared. But, he continued, "We will put a planned strategy together, we will lift each other up together, we will decide our party's future together and we will take on Donald Trump and the far right Republicans together."
In a statement, former President Obama congratulated his former Cabinet member, and on his choice of Ellison to help him lead it.
"I know Tom Perez will unite us under that banner of opportunity, and lay the groundwork for a new generation of Democratic leadership for this big, bold, inclusive, dynamic America we love so much."
In his previous endorsement of Perez, former Vice President Biden called him "a man of integrity and vision."
The newest leader of the DNC provides the Democratic party a new face after it experienced a demoralizing campaign as well as a reshuffling of its top leadership last August. 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.
Former presidential nominee Hillary Clinton avoided chiming into the race, but she did make a video appearance at the conference on Friday, urging party unity.
"Let resistance plus persistence equal progress for our party and our country," she said."
WATCH | Hillary Clinton addresses those present at the Democratic Winter meeting