In his victory speech, Mr. Perez played down what he called “the robust discussions in the Democratic Party.” “We’re all going to continue to be united in our values,” he said, calling the party’s “big tent” an asset.
Mr. Perez, 55, the son of Dominican immigrants, is the first Latino chairman of the Democratic Party. He was reared in Buffalo and has held a series of state and federal government jobs, most recently as Mr. Obama’s labor secretary.
Despite his limited experience in electoral politics, his calls for rebuilding the grass-roots and fostering a party that “makes house calls again” appealed to the party insiders who have watched as the House, the Senate and finally the presidency slipped away.
Addressing reporters with Mr. Ellison after the election, Mr. Perez vowed to shift the committee from its overriding focus on presidential politics.
“We’re no longer simply the committee that helps elect the president; we’re the committee that helps to ensure we’re electing people up and down the Democratic ticket,” he said, switching to Spanish for a time.