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DNC Chair Race: Progressives’ Aggressive Tactics to Elect Keith Ellison Backfire

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Democratic party leaders are reportedly concerned with the extreme and aggressive approach radical progressives have exhibited in lobbying for hard left Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) in his race to become the Democratic National Committee’s next chairman.

“I am not interested in anarchy,” Marcel L. Groen, chairman of the Pennsylvania Democrats, told the Washington Times. “It was over the top and I contacted Keith, and Keith tried to stop it, to his credit. I want their enthusiasm and energy, but I do want it harnessed,”he said, adding, “Let’s say you were completely uncommitted. You don’t want 300 people calling you and telling you what to do.”

Groen said the extreme pro-Ellison effort pushed his support in the direction of Tom Perez, a former labor secretary who served under Barack Obama and is seen as the Democratic Party’s establishment choice to head the DNC.

Some DNC members are still undecided about whether they will vote for Ellison or Perez. One such member, David O’Brien, told the Washington Times a progressive told him it would be an “injustice” if Ellison did not win the seat.

This week, Perez reportedly claimed he had 180 pledged voters out of 224 he needs to win the chairmanship. According to Politico, Ellison pushed back, telling DNC membership in an email that Perez was trying “to exert pressure on you.”

Part of the email, which does not mention Perez by name, read, “You received a voicemail, email and a text message trying to make the race sound like it is over. And the goal is clear: to exert pressure on you.”

Ellison’s candidacy has not been without controversy.

The majority of American Jews are registered as Democrats. Ellison, a convert to Islam, has been questioned over his views regarding Israel and for his praise of Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan over 20 years ago.

In December, emeritus law professor at Harvard University, author and Orthodox Jew Alan Dershowitz, said if Ellison is elected as DNC chair he would resign from the Democratic Party. Dershowitz said in an interview on Fox Business Network’s Mornings with Maria Bartiromo:

If they now appoint Keith Ellison, who worked with Farrakhan, to be chairman of the DNC, you’re going to see a lot of people leave. I’m going to tell you right here on this show, and this is news, if they appoint Keith Ellison to be chairman of the Democratic party, I will resign my membership to the Democratic party after 50 years of being a loyal Democrat. I will still vote my conscience and mostly I will vote for Democrats, but I will not be a member of a party that represents itself through a chairman like Keith Ellison, and through policies like that espoused by John Kerry and Barack Obama.

There are seven candidates total in the race for DNC chair, which will take place between February 23-26, 2017. Approximately 450 members of the Democratic National Committee will convene to vote. In addition to Perez and Ellison are New Hampshire Democratic Party Chairman Raymond Buckley; South Carolina Democratic Party Chairman Jaime Harrison; Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Indiana; Idaho Democratic Party Executive Director Sally Boynton-Brown; and television commentator Jehmu Greene.

Follow Adelle Nazarian on Twitter and Periscope @AdelleNaz

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