In a Seattle speech, Democratic National Committee chair Tom Perez vowed Democrats will employ an “every ZIP code” strategy to recoup losses in state legislatures and Congress
Democratic National Committee (DNC) Chair Tom Perez vows Democrats will employ an “every ZIP code strategy” as they fight President Donald Trump and try to reverse years of losses in Congress and state legislatures.
Speaking Tuesday in Seattle at a fundraiser for King County Executive Dow Constantine, who is seeking a third term this fall, Perez acknowledged Republicans have beat his party in many state-level races.
“We’ve lost 900 seats in state legislatures over the last 10 years. We have work to do, folks,” Perez said in his first trip to the state since being elected DNC chair in February.
In Washington, Democrats have remained largely dominant, but they are trying to recapture the state Senate, where the GOP holds a slim majority.
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Control will hinge on a special election this fall in the 45th Legislative District, in the seat formerly held by state Sen. Andy Hill, R-Redmond, who died this past year. Republicans are pinning hopes on Jinyoung Lee Englund, who has worked for a nonprofit in Africa and as an aide to U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Spokane.
At Constantine’s event, much attention was lavished on the candidate Democrats hope can win that seat, Manka Dhingra, a senior deputy prosecutor in King County.
Dhingra spoke from the stage to the 900 on hand and was touted by Constantine, Perez — and even former President Jimmy Carter, who made an unannounced appearance on stage.
Carter was in town to speak to the annual employee meeting of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, according to a foundation spokeswoman.
“Surprise,” Constantine quipped after Carter’s cameo, which thrilled the crowd of Democrats. “Just think about that. A good and decent man in the White House,” Constantine added.
Perez laid into Trump in his speech, calling him “the most dangerous, incompetent president in the United States’ history.”
“We’re 115 days into the chaos and the carnage of this presidency,” Perez said. “I’m so glad to be here. Every day when I drive to the DNC I have to drive past some buildings that used to make me proud and now make me nauseous.”
In a brief session with reporters after the speech, Perez said Democrats will work to regain ground even in rural districts that have swung to the GOP.
In Washington, while Trump was thumped on the strength of the Seattle and King County vote, he carried some areas, such as Grays Harbor County, that had been havens for blue-collar Democratic support.
Perez said Democrats will compete in those areas with a message of “good jobs,” and not cede seemingly solid red congressional districts either.
“We’ve got to be there in every community. We need an every-Zip code strategy for the Democratic Party. We can’t simply show up every four years or every two years … We are establishing a 12-month organizing strategy,” he said.