Several longtime officials at the Democratic National Committee have lost their positions ahead of their first meeting since Tom Perez took over as chairman.
The DNC is facing particular criticism for the over-representation of Clinton backers on its Rule and Bylaws Committee, according to NBC News. That committee helps create the rules for the party’s presidential primary.
Many members that were ousted were supporters of Rep. Keith Ellison’s (D., Mich.) bid to run the DNC. Ellison became vice-chair under Perez.
The announcements exposed a rift between Ellison and Perez, who have publicly expressed their support for each other since the election of Perez as chairman.
One DNC committee member pushed out, James Zogby of the Arab American Institute, expressed displeasure with his ouster.
“I’m concerned about the optics, and I’m concerned about the impact. I want to heal the wound of 2016,” Zogby said.
Alice Germond, who previously served as the party’s longtime secretary, was removed from her at-large position and found her removal unusual.
“It is quite unusual for a former party official who has been serving on the DNC for like forever to just be left out in the cold without even a call from the chairman. So I assumed it had something to do with my support for Keith,” Germond said.
The DNC denied any retaliation and claimed changes were to diversify and freshen the party’s leadership.
“This year’s slate of at-large DNC member nominees reflects the unprecedented diversity of our party’s coalition,” said DNC spokesperson Michael Tyler.
The DNC has been struggling with consistently poor fundraising despite the party’s united disapproval of President Donald Trump.
Others who were ousted include Ray Buckley, the New Hampshire Democratic chairman, who lost his position on the Executive Committee and DNC Rules Committee, and Barbra Casbar Siperstein, the first transgender member of the DNC who was tossed from the Executive Committee.
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