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Tom Perez: Expect ‘Double-Digit’ Democratic Field in 2020 Presidential Primary

Tom Perez

Democratic National Committee chairman Tom Perez said Wednesday that he expects a "double-digit number of candidates" to run for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination in 2020.

Speaking to University of Chicago students at the school's Institute of Politics, Perez said that he would like to have a large number of candidates to counter the narrative that his party does not have a "bench of presidential candidates," the Chicago Tribune reported.

"I would welcome that because I hear people say we don't have a bench of presidential candidates, and I could not agree with that more," Perez said.

Perez did not identify any candidates he expects to run. The Tribune noted that former Vice President Joe Biden, Sens. Kamala Harris (Calif.) and Cory Booker (N.J.), and Rep. Tim Ryan (Ohio) are all considering potential 2020 White House bids.

In 2016, the Republican Party had 17 candidates, forcing underperforming or less popular hopefuls off the main stage into a second-tier debate. Only six candidates ended up running for the Democratic nomination in 2016.

"I think that debate [would be] spectacular," Perez said. "My job is to make sure the playing field is level."

At the same event, Perez did not go into detail about the DNC and Hillary Clinton's 2016 campaign paying for research that was included in a dossier full of salacious claims about connections between President Donald Trump and Russia.

"You're going to have to ask the folks who were at the DNC at the time," he said, noting that he served as labor secretary in the Obama administration throughout the 2016 presidential campaign. "I learned about the dossier a few days ago, OK?"

When asked how that was possible, Perez said he only knew the DNC was paying for opposition research.

"We knew that we were paying for opposition research at the DNC, but we didn't ask questions about who they were hiring in the context of doing their research," Perez said.