Thursday on MSNBC’s “MTP Daily,” host Chuck Todd questioned the seriousness of the Democratic National Committee’s commitment to winning this December’s special election for a U.S. Senate seat in Alabama.
Nine Republicans and seven Democrats are vying for their party’s respective nomination for the December election in a primary set for next Tuesday. Of the seven Democrats, two of those appear to be headed for a runoff in September according to polling — former Clinton U.S. Attorney Doug Jones and U.S. Navy veteran and business executive Robert Kennedy, Jr.
Todd asked Democratic National Committee chairman Tom Perez what the DNC was doing to bolster the eventual Democratic candidate’s chances later this year, to which Perez could only offer that he had met with Jones.
Partial transcript as follows:
TODD: I want to talk about the — let me bring up Alabama. What are you doing in Alabama senate? It’s a total mess in the Republican primary side. It is pretty clear to me that the national party is not that serious about targeting Alabama senate.
PEREZ: Well, listen, I’ve met with Doug Jones. I’ve known Doug Jones as one of the candidates for the senate race in Alabama. Doug Jones was the U.S. attorney who prosecuted one of the 16 street bombing cases. He’s incredibly respected. I personally met with him. You know, as part of our every state strategy, we are —
TODD: You’ve met with him. Have you raised money for him? Have you sent staffers? What’s the DNC say doing? Is Chuck Schumer raising money? You see my point here. You’ve met with him. The campaign, the primary is next week.
PEREZ: Sure. Well, hey, you know what, Chuck, and what we have done is increase our investments in state parties everywhere, because what we have to do as a DNC is build that infrastructure for success. We are taking the word off year out of our Lexicon. We’ve got to organize everywhere and every year. And that’s what we’re doing as Democrats. Our increased investments in Alabama are going to help people like Doug Jones.
I think Doug Jones’ message can resonate with Democrats across the state of Alabama because as you correctly point out, the three Republican candidates are forming a circular firing squad right now. And that’s why I’ve had conversations months ago. And that’s why the Democratic Party and the DNC, the primary is coming up shortly, and absolutely we’re going to be actively engaged, just as we’re doing here in Virginia.
TODD: Howard Dean once said he wanted to be — when he was running for president, he wanted to be the Democratic and he wanted to be a candidate for the guy who drives a pickup truck with a confederate flag in the corner of the window and a gun rack, that he wants the Democratic Party to be open for that guy too. Do you want the Democratic Party to be open for that guy as well?
PEREZ: Well, listen, we want the Democratic Party to talk to everybody in every zip code. And I think when we talk about getting access to good jobs that pay a middle-class wage that make sure if you’re a mine worker in West Virginia and you’re looking to maintain your pension, Mitch McConnell and the Republicans and the Trump administration are the ones making it harder for you to retain your pension.
That’s what the Democratic Party is fighting for. We’re fighting to make sure that you have good jobs and health care and retirement security.
TODD: Do you understand the cultured question I’m asking? Can you overcome that? Because — do you want the Democratic Party to be the party for, yes, the guy in the pickup truck with the confederate flag on the bumper and the gun rack in the back?
PEREZ: I want the Democratic Party to be the party for the working person who wants to make sure that his life is better, that he has the freedoms to make sure that he’s living and his children are living an even better life than him or her. And that’s, Chuck, what we’ve always been fighting for. And you look at the issues that are confronting people, whether it’s West Virginia or whether it’s here in Richmond.
The opioid epidemic has been, you know, just absolutely destroying communities. And what is the Republican response? They want to cut Medicaid, which is the principle lifeline for people seeking treatment. And so I want that person, whatever pickup truck you drive, whatever place of worship where you go or don’t go, I want to make sure that that person can make his or her life and their family’s lives better. And that’s what the Democrats have been doing.
(h/t GOP War Room)
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