Former state Assembly Speaker John A. Perez, the first openly gay person to hold the post and a forceful former labor organizer, said he is considering a run for chairman of the Democratic National Committee. Politico first reported the news Wednesday.
Perez, who served as speaker from 2010-14 and ran unsuccessfully for state controller two years ago, on Wednesday said party leaders from across the nation have contacted him over the past several weeks to encourage him to run.
With President-elect Donald Trump about to enter the White House and Republicans in control of the Senate and House of Representatives, he said the national Democratic Party could learn from the methods used by California Democrats to win political dominance in the nation’s largest state.
In a 98-96 vote, Rep. Linda Sanchez (D-Whittier) was elected the next vice chairwoman of the House Democratic Caucus on Wednesday, making her the first Latina to ever serve in House leadership.
"We always knew it takes a lot of hard work to get a majority of your colleagues on board with something, I've been working at this for more than a year, worked diligently, and I knew today whatever the outcome, I left it all out on the field," Sanchez said after the vote.
Earlier in the day, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of San Francisco fended off a challenge for her post from a group of younger members, some of whom had grumbled about how long some of the senior members have been in power, and whether newer members of the caucus had a voice.
Several congressional Democrats urged President-elect Donald Trump to protect so-called Dreamers, students and youth who were brought into the U.S. illegally as children, when he takes office next month.
In tweets and Facebook posts, elected officials urged Trump not to reverse President Obama's Deferred Action of Childhood Arrivals plan, which put off deportations for Dreamers, as he had promised to do on the campaign trail.
The online campaign uses an image that reads "We are a nation of immigrants" and the hashtag "SaveDACA" in reference to the program.
Senator-elect Kamala Harris is making her first hiring move, announcing Wednesday that her chief deputy in the attorney general's office, Nathan Barankin, will be her chief of staff when she replaces Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) in November.
"Nathan has been my trusted advisor and right hand for many years in the Attorney General’s office. He is an exceptional lawyer, legislative expert, and career public servant. He has served three different Attorneys General of California in executive roles and has worked as a constitutional litigator and an advisor to the California Senate leadership for many years. I look forward to continuing to work with Nathan in the United States Senate,” Harris said in a statement.
New senators are sworn in Jan. 3. Harris also announced half a dozen people to help set up her new office, including advisors Debbie Mesloh, Michael Troncoso and Tony West.
House Democratic Caucus Chairman Xavier Becerra (D-Los Angeles) is seeking to become the ranking Democrat on the House Ways and Means Committee following news Tuesday that the current ranking member Rep. Sandy Levin (D-Mich.) will not run for the position again.
Levin, 85, said it was time to give younger members a chance to lead Democrats on the powerful tax-writing committee ahead of expected fights with the Trump administration and House Republicans over healthcare policy and tax reform.
Becerra asked for support in a letter to colleagues Tuesday night.
Democratic congressional candidate Douglas Applegate came within a few thousand votes of knocking off GOP Rep. Darrell Issa of Vista, and now says he's going to give it another try in 2018.
“As a Marine Colonel, I know that the hardest fights often take a couple of battles — and I look forward to continuing our fight in the days, weeks, and months ahead,” Applegate said in a statement released Tuesday. “That’s why I’m announcing my intention to run for Congress in 2018.”