DNC Chair Perez Refuses To Call Pelosi A "Burden" To Democratic Candidates


DNC Chairman Tom Perez conceded defeat on CNN in Tuesday's special election to fill the vacant seat in Ohio's 12th Congressional district. Perez said what "won" the seat for Republican Troy Balderson was a "heavily gerrymandered" district in favor of a Republican.

"What won yesterday was gerrymandering because this seat has been heavily gerrymandered in favor of Balderson," Perez said. "That was done by John Boehner back in 2011. And so, what we see here, again, when you've got 60, 68 seats whatever the precise number is that are more competitive than this seat."

Though no victor has been declared, Republican Troy Balderson is winning with 50.2% of the vote. Danny O'Connor, the Democratic candidate, currently has 49.3% of the vote. All outstanding ballots will be counted on August 18th.

CNN host John Berman quizzed Perez if he believed longtime House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi is a "burden to some Democratic candidates" since dozens of Democratic Congressional candidates said they will not vote for her to lead the party or as Speaker if they take the House in the midterm elections. O'Connor is one of the candidates who said he will not support Pelosi as party leader.

BERMAN: You're talking about Tennessee. Today, we're still talking about Ohio and the races that were taking place today. And Danny O'Connor is one of about 25 Democratic Congressional candidates who says, he will not support Nancy Pelosi if he is elected ultimately in November for speaker or even if the party leader going forward.

What does that tell you that you have so many particular younger candidates from around the country again perhaps from this less urban district that want to see a change at the top of leadership?

PEREZ: Well, you know, interesting as you look at the Conor Lamb race, you look at this race here. And Democrats are talking about making sure we save your healthcare, making sure that if you have a preexisting condition that you can continue to get healthcare coverage.

And all Republicans can do is talk about Nancy Pelosi or talk about, you know, trying to tout that reckless tax cut.

BERMAN: And I understand -- I understand that they're running on Pelosi. But again, Danny O'Connor made his position clear. Do you think she is a bit of burden to some Democratic candidates?

PEREZ: Listen, every Democrat running for office is going to do what they think is in the best interest of their district. Nancy Pelosi is responsible for the passage of the Affordable Care Act. We wouldn't have coverage for people with preexisting conditions without the leadership of Nancy Pelosi.

And so, millions of Americans are in better shape because of that. And again, as I said every person who's running in a particular district is going to make their judgment. And what we're seeing across the country is people want to know how are you going to help improve my life?

How are you going improve public education? How are you going to make sure that prescription drug prices don't keeps skyrocketing? How are you going to save my mother who has breast cancer and kick a coverage if you repeal the Affordable Care Act.

These are the things that Democrats are focused on. And frankly, the abscess of any message on the Republican side is really remarkable. And that's why we keep winning in places where we have no business winning. And we're competitive in a place where the congressmen in 2016 won by over 30 points. That's remarkable.

BERMAN: All right. Mr. Chairman, former Secretary Tom Perez, thanks so much for being with us today. Obviously, you are energized this morning for the numbers you see. But again it doesn't look like Danny O'Connor has the votes yet to prevail in Ohio 12th. We do appreciate you being with us.

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