Help could be on the way for Utah’s Democrats

Bryan Schott and Tom PerezUtah’s Democratic Party is in sad shape. They haven’t won a statewide election in nearly two decades, and their numbers on Utah’s Capitol Hill are near an all-time low. But, one candidate to head the national party says he aims to change that.

Tom Perez, who served as Secretary of Labor under President Barack Obama, is hoping to become the next chair of the Democratic National Committee. He visited Utah on Tuesday and pledged support for Utah’s embattled minority party.

“I think one of the keys to turning around the Democratic party nationally is to make sure we have strong partnerships with states everywhere,” said Perez. “Part of the problem the Utah Democratic party has is the Democratic National Committee has not been enough of a partner and I want to make sure that we implement a true partnership. In order to do that you have to make house calls and I wanted to be here today to show people that I mean what I say when we’re talking about ensuring every state counts.”

What would that partnership look like? Perez says obviously there would be some financial support for the state party, but he’s looking at building infrastructure and providing training for candidates.

“We need to help with organizing. I’m a firm believer that we need to get back to basics and we need to think long-term. We need long term investments in party building and organizing so that we can be on the ground in communities. When we are physically present, talking to people, that’s how we succeed.”

Utah only has four votes in the race for DNC Chair. Perez is considered the front-runner in the contest, with Michigan Congressman Keith Ellison, thought to be his primary competition. The first candidate to get to 224 votes when the party meets to pick a new chairman on Saturday.