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.
“California has been through some of the challenges the rest of the country is facing right now,” Perez said in an interview with The Times. “It’s not that we’re an outlier. But we’re an interesting model for what’s possible in other states.”
During Perez’s tenure as speaker, the Democrats won a two-thirds supermajority in both the Assembly and state Senate. Democrats now hold every statewide political post in the state.
Several contestants for the new DNC chair have emerged, including Howard Dean, the former Vermont governor who ran the national party in the run-up to Obama's 2008 election, and Rep. Keith Ellison of Minnesota, a favorite of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and the incoming Senate Democratic leader, Charles E. Schumer of New York.
The national party was rocked by controversies this past election season, including leaked emails that hastened the departure of its former chairwoman, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida. The emails, made public by WikiLeaks, showed her staff members discussing ways to undermine Sanders during the Democratic primary.
Perez, who lives in downtown Los Angeles, said he plans to deliberate about a possible run over the next several weeks.