Former Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin on Thursday endorsed U.S. Labor Secretary Thomas Perez’s bid to lead the Democratic National Committee, calling him the best candidate to help turn Georgia blue.
Perez is one of about a half-dozen candidates in the running to rebuild the fractured party after Hillary Clinton’s defeat to Donald Trump in November, and the bitter contest will be decided at the party’s meeting in Atlanta in February.
Franklin, who co-chaired the party’s platform committee, said Perez has spent his career “fighting to create the beloved community that Dr. King so eloquently prescribed more than 50 years ago.”
“If we elect him as chair of the Democratic National Committee, he will continue to work across all sectors to improve the lives of Americans,” she said. “I look forward to working with Tom Perez and our party leadership to turn Georgia blue.”
The former mayors of Trenton and Philadelphia also endorsed Perez on Thursday.
The fight over DNC chair has all the makings of a repeat of the bruising Democratic primary, where an establishment-backed Clinton squared off against Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders’ insurgent campaign.
This time, Sanders and other progressive powerbrokers are backing Rep. Keith Ellison’s bid for DNC chair, while Perez has support from President Barack Obama’s allies. Other contenders in the race include Jamie Harrison, the head of the South Carolina Democratic Party, and Sally Boynton Brown of the Idaho Democratic Party.
Perez has centered his campaign on a promise to combat voter suppression efforts and hiring an in-house cyber security chief to prevent another hacking attack.
He said in a statement Franklin’s support is “indicative of exactly the type of Democratic Party we intend to build – one that engages the grassroots constituencies and local leaders to fight for a more progressive future every single day of the year.”