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Perez: Democrats ‘Allowed Our Basic Party Infrastructure to Atrophy’

• April 19, 2017 10:24 am

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Democrats have allowed their political party's basic infrastructure to atrophy and are now focused on rebuilding its structure, according to Democratic National Committee chair Tom Perez.

The DNC chair admitted that Democrats have neglected important aspects of the Democratic Party's nationwide network during an interview with CNN's Chris Cuomo on Wednesday morning.

Perez's acknowledgement of a damaged grassroots network came as Cuomo asked if Democrats could replicate their strategy in Georgia's sixth congressional district elsewhere.

Democratic candidate Jon Ossoff received the most votes in Tuesday night's special election to fill a vacant House seat in Georgia that is historically controlled by Republicans. Democrats invested vast sums of money in the race, but Ossoff fell short of 50 percent of the vote, meaning he will face the second place vote-getter–Republican Karen Handel, Georgia's former secretary of state–in a runoff in June.

"You guys put a lot of money in this race," Cuomo said to Perez. "You couldn't do that in every race, could you?"

"I understand, but the Democrat party, we have to walk and chew gum, and that's exactly what we're doing," Perez responded. "We're investing heavily here in the Georgia six race, but I'm traveling across the country, we're building strong parties everywhere."

Perez then discussed issues in the party that he plans to address during his tenure as DNC chair.

"That's what we have to do because that's where we fell short in the past; we allowed our basic infrastructure to atrophy, and we have to build strong parties," he said. "We have to have organizers on the ground 12 months a year, not just two months before the election."

Perez is also facing a fractured Democratic base and a party whose popularity has declined in recent months as he takes the reins at the DNC.