Former DNC chair Perez announces bid for Maryland governor

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Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez speaks to the crowd before the start of the Democratic 2020 U.S. presidential candidates debate in Manchester, New Hampshire, U.S.
FILE PHOTO: Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez speaks to the crowd before the start of the Democratic 2020 U.S. presidential candidates debate in Manchester, New Hampshire, U.S., February 7, 2020. REUTERS/Brian Snyder

June 23, 2021

By Brendan O’Brien

(Reuters) – Tom Perez, a former Democratic National Committee chairman, on Wednesday announced he was running for governor in his home state of Maryland in a bid to succeed outgoing Governor Larry Hogan, a popular Republican who cannot run again because of term limits.

In an online video announcing his candidacy, Perez vowed to build a Maryland where all residents have access to quality education, affordable healthcare and a good job.

“My entire life has been about making government work and helping people, and that is exactly what I’ll do as your governor,” the 59-year-old said.

Perez is the ninth Democrat to announce his candidacy for governor while two Republicans are in the running to succeed Hogan, who has served as Maryland’s governor since 2015.

Hogan, who has enjoyed high approval ratings during his tenure and the pandemic, is barred from seeking a third term.

In the five-minute video announcing his candidacy, Perez highlighted his upbringing as the son of Dominican of Republic immigrants. He touched on his work ethic, saying he had worked as a trash collector to pay for college, and portrayed himself as a family man who coached his daughter’s basketball team.

Perez served as the head of the civil rights division of the Department of Justice and as labor secretary under President Barack Obama.

He was elected to head the Democratic National Committee in 2016 after Hillary Clinton lost a bitter race for president to Republican Donald Trump. He did not seek another term as DNC chair and served until January of this year.

Perez has also held several other federal and state government positions, including as secretary of Maryland’s labor, licensing and regulation department. In May, the Venable law firm said it hired Perez as a Washington, D.C.-based partner.

(Reporting by Brendan O’Brien in Chicago; Editing by Matthew Lewis)