Democratic National Committee chair Tom Perez said Friday that if he was leading the campaign arm of House Democrats, he would not have released damaging opposition research against a Democratic congressional candidate in Texas as the organization did last week.
Perez made the comment during an interview on CSPAN's "Newsmaker" with USA Today Washington bureau chief Susan Page and Washington Post correspondent James Hohmann. The interview will air Sunday at 10 a.m. and 6 p.m.
The interviewers asked Perez about the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee's move last Thursday to publish opposition research on its website against Laura Moser, a progressive Democrat who is running to unseat incumbent Republican Rep. John Culberson in Texas' seventh district near Houston.
"I wouldn't have done it," Perez said of the DCCC's decision to target Moser, according to a tweet from Page.
— Susan Page (@SusanPage) March 2, 2018
The DCCC called Moser a "Washington insider" and criticized her for speaking negatively about Texas. Several Democrats, liberal journalists, and progressive activists quickly castigated the DCCC for its attacks on Moser.
Moser, a Houston journalist and the creator of a text-messaging tool instrumental in channeling progressive anger into activism against President Donald Trump, is running against six other Democrats in the March 6 primary to unseat Culberson.
Moser appeared to take a shot at both the DCCC and the DNC on Friday in a new web video asking her supporters to reject "the system where Washington party bosses tell us who to choose."
Perez claimed that he would not have followed the same strategy as the DCCC, although he has a history of sparking intra-party conflicts. Last April, he demanded ideological purity on abortion rights among Democratic candidates.
"Every Democrat, like every American, should support a woman's right to make her own choices about her body and her health," Perez said at the time. "That is not negotiable and should not change city by city or state by state."
"At a time when women's rights are under assault from the White House, the Republican Congress, and in states across the country," Perez added, "we must speak up for this principle as loudly as ever and with one voice."
Over the past year, Democratic leaders have debated whether their party should support pro-life candidates in certain races or make one's stance on abortion a firm red line, creating a tense intra-party divide.