Congressional Black Caucus members aren’t happy with Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez, taking a symbolic vote Wednesday voicing their displeasure with his leadership of the party.
Members passed a measure inside their caucus stating they have “no confidence” in Perez as DNC chair. Black Caucus members remain upset with how Perez handled the historic August vote to strip superdelegates of their power during the party’s presidential nominating process. The changes block superdelegates — elected officials and party leaders — from casting a vote for any presidential candidate unless a second ballot is required at the 2020 national convention.
Congressional Black Caucus Chairman Cedric Richmond, D-La., confirmed to the Washington Examiner that the vote passed for a “combination of reasons,” but the primary reason was the superdelegate reforms adopted by the DNC earlier this year. Perez took over the DNC in early 2017.
“I think just a lack of respect for our members — you know during the Hillary [Clinton] race if we went to 300 places for Congress, we went to 400-500 places for Hillary,” Richmond said of Black congressional members. “It’s one of the things with being a party leader.”
“Our members were just not happy,” Richmond added. "It's not a motion saying he needs to go, it's a motion expressing real concern about where we are."
The superdelgate reforms, supported by both Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders supporters, dramatically changed the way the party picks its presidential nominee. In the lead up to the August vote, Richmond sent a letter on behalf of the Black Caucus expressing opposition to the changes.
"An overwhelming majority of DNC members approved these historic reforms to strengthen and grow our party, increase transparency, and put our nominee in the best possible position to win in 2020," DNC spokesperson Adrienne Watson said in an email to the Washington Examiner. "We look forward to continuing our work with the Caucus to build a strong and diverse party, including our ongoing support for candidates in Georgia, Florida and Mississippi. Our top priority is to ensure that every vote is counted and our candidates have the support they need to win."
Since the DNC's August meeting, Perez has campaigned with and for members of the Black Caucus, including events with Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee in Texas and with Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester in Pennsylvania. Last week, he held a virtual phone rally with women of the Black Caucus.
"It has nothing to do with political superiority or intellectual superiority, it has to do with the fact that we’re right in the middle of this arena, and we might have insights that others might not have," said Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, D-Mo. "The greater problem is bumping constituents out of participation in the conventions, and nobody likes that."