Perez on DCCC Attacking Progressive Dem Candidate in Texas: ‘I Would Have Done It Differently’

Democratic National Committee chair Tom Perez said Wednesday that he would not have interfered in a Democratic congressional primary in Texas as the campaign arm of House Democrats did recently to attack a progressive House candidate.

CNN host Brianna Keilar asked Perez in an interview about the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee's attempt to destroy Democrat Laura Moser's bid for Congress to unseat incumbent Republican Rep. John Culberson in Texas' seventh district near Houston. The DCCC published an opposition research memo against Moser a few weeks ago that painted her as a "Washington insider" and as somebody that shows disdain for Texas. The attempt failed on Tuesday, when she qualified for a primary runoff.

Keilar mentioned that Perez said during a recent C-SPAN interview that he would not have attacked Moser as the DCCC did if he were running the campaign organization. Keilar asked Perez to elaborate on his stance.

"I think what we need to do as Democrats—what we do at the DNC is we don't get involved in heavily contested primaries, and the DCCC does and I respect the fact that they do endorse in primaries," Perez said. "EMILY's List and others endorse in primaries, but what I think I would have done differently is, again, I would have kept the campaign focused on the issues—what are you fighting for, things of that nature."

Perez then pivoted to discuss "record turnout" in last year's Virginia elections among Democrats before Keilar interjected to ask him about the message that the DCCC was sending to progressives in the Democratic Party with its attack on Moser. Keilar noted that one of Perez's main challenges as DNC chair is to narrow the divide between the more progressive and establishment wings of the Democratic Party.

"As I said, I would have done it differently, but what I think is most important and what I see all across the country—and we've had a lot of contested primaries across the country—and what we saw in Virginia after the primary there last year is people came together," Perez said. "They understood that Donald Trump is the most dangerous president in American history."

Perez went on to criticize Sen. Ted Cruz (R., Texas), saying that Texans know that he "is not fighting for their values," and argued that Americans need a Democratic Congress to pursue a different agenda than the current Republican one.

Moser, a Houston journalist and the creator of a text-messaging tool instrumental in channeling progressive anger into activism against Trump, finished in second place in Tuesday's Democratic primary in Texas' seventh congressional district, Politico reported. She will face leading candidate Lizzie Pannill Fletcher, an attorney, in the runoff on May 22.