CNN: Perez Has Gone 'Bananas,' Is Threatening State-Level Democrats

December 17, 2018

CNN anchor Brianna Keilar said Democratic National Committee chairman Tom Perez went "bananas" in his effort to build a voter database using data from state-level Democrats.

"The DNC chair, Tom Perez, wants voter data, right, from Democrats in the states. He's trying to build this big, for-profit database. This is a big deal that he's trying to do this, but he kind of went pretty bananas on these state Democrats, threatening to cut them off from using DNC resources that are basically just from the DNC that they lend out, like organizing tools, campaign tech tools, tools that actually in the hands of state democrats would favor the party nationally," Keilar said. "What do you make of this?" she asked Robby Mook, Hillary Clinton's 2016 campaign manager.

"Well it's really complex," Mook responded. "The data arrangement in our party is a little bit more complicated than for the Republicans."

"But let's boil it down to this, yes, and he needs the data, but [state party leaders are] basically saying he's being a jerk about it. It's not like he's appealing to them. He's threatening to yank stuff from them. He's to the point of — he's not carrots, he's sticks right now," Keilar said.

Perez went after the Democratic Party's state organizations on Saturday in a "long and angry" email concerning the party's voter data file, Politico reported. Most of the party's voter data is owned by state parties or collected by outside groups like labor unions, but the DNC would like to gather voter data into a single, large database. State parties have suggested this would amount to a power grab by the DNC.

Ken Martin, the president of the Association of State Democratic Committees, proposed a different plan that would integrate data within the current system. In response, Perez sent his email, arguing, "this proposal would tear down just about everything about our current data structure, reversing so much of the progress we made over the past decade." He also threatened to cut off state parties' access to campaign tech tools if they move forward with Martin's plan.

Perez's email prompted "an uproar" among state party leaders, with one state party official calling him "a bull in a china shop" and another referring to him as "petulant."

"His email was wholly inappropriate and wholly in the wrong spirit of our conversation," said Trav Robertson, the South Carolina Democratic Party chairman.

Rep.-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez expressed opposition to the DNC's proposal in a tweet.