Former Labor Secretary Tom Perez elected as DNC Chair

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UPDATE: Democrats elect former Obama Labor Secretary Tom Perez as national party chairman.

ATLANTA -- Hundreds of leading democrats have gathered in Atlanta Saturday to choose the new chair of the Democratic National Committee.

Democrats are beginning the process of rebuilding their party by choosing a new national chairman charged with turning widespread opposition to President Donald Trump into more election victories.

There are seven candidates vying to replace interim Democratic National Committee Chair Donna Brazile.

With the outcome of Saturday's vote uncertain, former Labor Secretary Tom Perez and Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison are making a final push to cajole support from the hundreds of state party leaders, donors and activists who make up the Democratic National Committee.

Perez supporters say he's on the cusp of the required majority. Ellison maintains that he is still a viable candidate.

Perez gave a speech before the vote, and he said Democrats face "a crisis of confidence" and a "crisis of relevance." He pledged to "take the fight" to Trump and "right-wing Republicans."

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders issued the following statement after Perez was elected.

"I congratulate Tom Perez on his election as chairman of the Democratic National Committee and look forward to working with him. At a time when Republicans control the White House, the U.S. House, U.S. Senate and two-thirds of all statehouses, it is imperative that Tom understands that the same-old, same-old is not working and that we must open the doors of the party to working people and young people in a way that has never been done before. Now, more than ever, the Democratic Party must make it clear that it is prepared to stand up to the 1 percent and lead this country forward in the fight for social, racial, economic and environmental justice."

A handful of other candidates are holding out hope that neither Ellison nor Perez can command a majority, opening up the race for an upset in later rounds of voting.

An Emory University political scientist says South Bend, Indiana's mayor, Pete Buttigieg, is another candidate to watch.

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