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Keith Ellison Gets a Serious Challenger in DNC Battle

The race for chairmanship of the Democratic National Committee is getting tighter with Labor Secretary Tom Perez planning a run. This could spell trouble for Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison, once considered the leading candidate for the job.

Perez, who plans to announce his candidacy on Thursday, already enjoys the backing of 10 local party chairs.

New Hampshire Democratic Party Chair Ray Buckley and South Carolina Democratic Party Chair Jaime Harrison are also in the running.

Like Ellison, Perez is aligned with the Democratic Party’s progressive side, but Ellison has already secured the support of most of the party’s liberal heavy hitters, including senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. On Wednesday, he won the support of New York mayor Bill de Blasio. Incoming Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer also endorsed Ellison.

Ellison’s run for leadership of the Democratic Party generated mixed reactions in the Jewish community, with some on the right and the center accusing Ellison of being too critical of Israel and, in some cases, of supporting anti-Semitic views in the past, while others embraced him, denouncing efforts to compare Ellison’s run for Democratic leadership to Steve Bannon’s appointment as top White House adviser.

A Politico survey conducted among 447 DNC voting members found most of them are still undecided.

Contact Nathan Guttman at [email protected] or on Twitter @nathanguttman

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