Epic Iowa Caucus Fail Blowback Hits DNC Chair Tom Perez

catkinZ8a

POLITICO

Iowa blowback scorches Tom Perez

"It was very frustrating to not hear from the DNC for 48 hours, except for them throwing Troy under the bus," said one state Democratic Party chair.


By LAURA BARRÓN-LÓPEZ, NATASHA KORECKI and ALEX THOMPSON

02/07/2020 07:08 AM EST

Updated: 02/07/2020 07:12 AM EST


Democrats are fuming that it took a full day for Democratic National Committee Chair Tom Perez to issue a statement on the caucus debacle in Iowa — and three full days for him to go before national viewers to explain what’s going on.


Worse, an increasing number of Democrats, both in Iowa and outside, are starting to point fingers at Perez, saying he shoulders a share of the blame for Iowa’s vote-counting catastrophe, with some going so far as to call for his exit.


“Oh yeah,” Perez should step down as party chairman, said Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-Ohio). “We’re a party in chaos.”


For much of the week, the Iowa Democratic Party and its chair Troy Price have taken the brunt of the blame for the failed reporting app and the fiasco it created for Monday’s first-in-the-nation caucuses.

The spectacle of the beleaguered and abandoned state party leader has frustrated a number of his fellow state party chairs, leading some of them to conclude Perez has sought to distance himself from the crisis and scapegoat Price in the process.


“Loads of state party chairs are pissed that he would treat one of their peers like this,” said a senior state party official familiar with the ongoing discussions.


On a Wednesday call of state chairs and DNC officials, Tina Podlodowski, chair of the Washington state Democrats, demanded answers about why Perez was absent from the spotlight as Iowa imploded, and why the national chairman wasn’t standing side-by-side with Price as he addressed the public in front of cameras.


“Where is Tom?” Podlodowski said in an interview Thursday, recalling her sentiments on the call. “It was very frustrating to not hear from the DNC for 48 hours, except for them throwing Troy under the bus.”


A DNC official, who declined to be identified, pushed back on the characterization that Perez and the national committee had gone AWOL, noting that the DNC sent staff to help the Iowa state party around the clock and provide resources.


Perez, the source said, was updated hourly.


On Thursday, however, the relationship between the Iowa state party and the DNC took another turn as Perez stunned Iowa Democrats by publicly calling for a recanvass of the Iowa caucuses while they were still trying to finish counting votes.


“Enough is enough,” he tweeted. “In light of the problems that have emerged in the implementation of the delegate selection plan and in order to assure public confidence in the results, I am calling on the Iowa Democratic Party to immediately begin a recanvass.”


According to an Iowa Democrat with knowledge, a Perez assistant gave Price a one-minute heads up before sending out the tweet.


That Democrat, who had been involved in preparing for this year’s caucuses, called Perez’s move a transparently self-serving gesture at their expense.


Perez asked for the recanvass at a time when the first count hadn’t even concluded; the DNC knew very well that the way to trigger a recanvass was through a discrete process that initiates when a presidential candidate requests it. Other state party sources complained that the DNC consistently imposed new rules on a party organization that’s largely volunteer-run, and provided little financial or professional assistance in the run-up to the caucuses.


“He’s trying to protect himself,” the person said. “He got what he wanted, which is the end of the Iowa caucuses.”


Appearing for the first time before national viewers three days after the Iowa contest, Perez told MSNBC Thursday evening that he understood why people were upset but repeated his call for a recanvass of precincts that reported irregularities.


And he doubled down on his criticism of the Iowa party’s handling of the caucus, without owning up to any national party responsibility: “This was a major league failure, [Price] owned up to it. And we've been there with him ever since."


Late Thursday, after Perez's appearance on MSNBC, the chair of the Association of State Democratic Committees, Ken Martin, sent an email to all state party chairs, saying they were still waiting for the DNC to respond to a request that "they provide message guidance" on the "evolving situation with the Iowa caucuses."


Martin shared talking points for the party chairs that were compiled by a number of state party communication directors. The messaging points stood in sharp contrast to Perez‘s approach over the last two days: Express "gratitude" to Iowans, note that the Hawkeye State needs time to count, don't blame Iowa, and point out that a recanvass is up to the presidential candidates.


"It is not the time for people to point fingers, place blame, or try to distance themselves from what happened in Iowa," one talking point read, according to an email obtained by POLITICO. "If there needs to be a recount or recanvass, the only people who can call for one are the 2020 candidates themselves."


Several Iowa Democrats who spoke to POLITICO on the condition they not be identified said that even if a recanvass took place, the results would almost certainly not come through until after New Hampshire’s primary. While they concede the local party is culpable for its mistakes, they voiced frustrations that the DNC did little to tune in to the issues surrounding the technology before the caucuses.


The DNC claims it warned the Iowa state party about security issues with the app, but the party has denied happened. The DNC also says it helped test the app’s security but coding tests for bugs is something under the Iowa party’s purview.


Perez isn’t just facing blowback from state party officials. At a Wednesday meeting of the Congressional Black Caucus, members had a free-wheeling, 45-minute venting session about the DNC and Perez. The CBC is weighing whether to send a letter to Perez listing their grievances with his leadership, according to multiple sources with direct knowledge, and a growing number of black lawmakers are itching for Perez’s ouster after Iowa.


“I'm concerned about who owned Shadow [the company behind the failed app], who the investors are, [and] if they are Democratic operatives then that probably went toward the push to pick that app,” said Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.).


Perez’s leadership is “virtually nonexistent,” Thompson continued. “It’s just a matter of time before he’s going to go.”


DNC spokesperson, Xochitl Hinojosa, said “the DNC’s focus is to elect Democrats and beat Trump.”

The committee has made “unprecedented investments in state parties and won each November,” said Hinojosa, citing rules passed to make primaries more accessible and a debate process that is more “inclusive” than in the past. “Our work will continue because it’s more important than ever and there is too much at stake to be distracted by anything else.”


Iowa is the latest flash point in the CBC’s feud with Perez. Many members in the Wednesday meeting also voiced irritation over the DNC’s decision to change the presidential debate qualifications, making it possible for a candidate like former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg to make the debate stage. Many of the CBC members had urged Perez to change the qualifications sooner to allow Cory Booker and Julian Castro to make the stage but he declined.


A DNC official said the committee made it known in November that the threshold would change once people started to vote. The requirements are expected to likely change again to account for the outcomes of the first two contests, said a DNC official.



https://www.politico.com/news/2020/02/07/iowa-caucus-blowback-tom-perez-dnc-111795

SaveComment4Like
Comments (4)
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
catkinZ8a

Seems so familiar...oh yeah...

DEMOCRATIC CONVENTION

Published July 24, 2016

Last Update July 25, 2016

Wasserman Schultz to step down as DNC chairwoman, amid email fallout

By | Fox News


PHILADELPHIA – Debbie Wasserman Schultz announced Sunday she will soon step down as Democratic National Committee chairwoman, amid the fallout over leaked emails indicating an anti-Bernie Sanders bias in her operation -- a stunning development just hours before the start of her party's convention.

In a written statement, the controversial party leader said she was "privileged to serve as the DNC Chair for five and a half years."

She said her first priority is serving the people of her Florida congressional district while stressing the importance of helping elect Hillary Clinton, adding: "Going forward, the best way for me to accomplish those goals is to step down as Party Chair at the end of this convention."

She said she would still "open and close the convention," which begins Monday in Philadelphia, and address delegates "about the stakes involved in this election," in her role as party chair.

She apparently will step down at the end of the convention. Vice Chairwoman Donna Brazile is slated to take over as interim chair during the rest of the general election campaign.

The announcement came just hours after reports first surfaced that Wasserman Schultz may be denied a speaking role at the convention, and that she would not be presiding -- a decision apparently made under pressure from the Clinton campaign and the White House.

Rep. Marcia Fudge, D-Ohio, the former chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus, will instead preside over the Democratic proceedings as convention chairwoman. On the sidelines, party officials were already discussing Wasserman Schultz' role as DNC chairwoman.

One Democratic source told Fox News, “Debbie is being forced out sooner than later.”

The rapid-fire set of developments ahead of the convention kick-off raise immediate questions about whether the party can unite its battling factions in Philadelphia this week.

Officials were clearly trying to prevent anger over the email leak controversy and other issues from disrupting proceedings. The emails only bolstered claims from Sanders – and Republican nominee Donald Trump – that the system was rigged against the Vermont senator.

Trump tweeted after the DNC news broke:

Today proves what I have always known, that @Reince Priebus is the tough one and the smart one, not Debbie Wasserman Shultz (@DWStweets.)— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 24, 2016

Sanders himself blasted the DNC and Wasserman Schultz in interviews earlier Sunday, demanding her resignation as party chairwoman.

“I think [Wasserman Schultz] should resign. Period. And I think we need a new chair who is going the lead us in a very different direction,” Sanders told ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday, hours before the resignation was announced.

He later issued a statement thanking her for her service, and saying she made "the right decision for the future of the Democratic Party."

President Obama and Clinton both issued statements thanking Wasserman Schultz for her service.

"I am grateful to Debbie for getting the Democratic Party to this year's historic convention in Philadelphia, and I know that this week's events will be a success thanks to her hard work and leadership," Clinton said, adding that she will serve as "honorary chair of my campaign's 50-state program to gain ground and elect Democrats in every part of the country" and act as a surrogate.

The WikiLeaks document dump, which included emails from January 2015 to May 2016, purportedly came from the accounts of seven DNC officials. In a May 5 email, a DNC employee asked a colleague to collect information on his religious beliefs – claiming it might sway voters in West Virginia and Kentucky. In that particular email, Sanders' name was not mentioned, but he was the only other candidate in the race at that time against Clinton.

DNC chief financial officer Brad Marshall wrote, “This would make several points difference with my peeps. My Southern Baptist peeps would draw a big difference between a Jew and an atheist.”

Others from Wasserman Schultz herself contained very strong language, raising questions about her status as an ostensibly neutral party official.

Responding to Sanders’ complaints the party hasn’t been fair to him, she wrote to a staffer in an April email: “Spoken like someone who has never been a member of the Democratic Party and has no understanding of what we do.”

Responding to the same staffer a month later regarding Sanders campaign manager Jeff Weaver blaming the Nevada state party for a raucous convention, she wrote, “Damn liar. Particularly scummy that he barely acknowledges the violent and threatening behavior that occurred.”


https://www.foxnews.com/politics/wasserman-schultz-to-step-down-as-dnc-chairwoman-amid-email-fallout




Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
althea_gw

"if a recanvass took place, the results would almost certainly not come through until after New Hampshire’s primary. "

How convenient that the former mayor can go around claiming he won through the NH primary and continue to deny Bernie won by some 6,000 votes.

Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
althea_gw

Perez is on the side of the managerial class.



Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Kathy

If anything it woke up the Dems to how dirty this campaign will be. Never under estimate an impeached man when he got away with attempted election tampering.

Save