The DNC’s First Major Foray into the Early Voting Process Could Be a Big Risk for Pete Buttigieg

Biden’s snippy exchanges with reporters mask midterm fears. | J.W. reprovingly

By Alex Padilla

The following transcript and corresponding photos are from the May 15 Democratic debate sponsored by NBC News and MSNBC. The video also has transcripts available.

The Democratic National Committee has had its eye on presidential hopefuls as long as it has, but the party’s first major foray into the early-voting process is a big risk for presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg. It’s a risk that comes courtesy of the DNC, which will spend months and, in some cases, years trying to find the next best candidate to replace departing DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz. But even Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Ind., may have no room to move without a party war chest that dwarfs anything available to President Donald Trump.

The DNC has had its eye on a presidential candidate since, well, forever. Wasserman Schultz, an outspoken liberal political activist who led the DNC from 2005 to 2013, will soon step down. It’s not yet clear who will replace her. Last month, the committee announced that it had chosen Rep. Keith Ellison of Minnesota as its next chairwoman. A former DNC member who would be the first Muslim ever to lead the federal government’s top party, Ellison is already raising money and is scheduled to give a key address in Washington on Tuesday.

Ellison will be the only DNC member under 30 to sit in the DNC chair role. (The committee announced Ellison’s appointment on NBC last week.) To be sure, Democrats should take Ellison’s impressive résumé with a pinch of salt. In 2016, as a member of the Minnesota congressional delegation, he co-authored a piece with fellow Democrat Katherine Clark that falsely accused President Barack Obama of making racially insensitive remarks about then-Vice President Joe Biden. (Biden denied making the comments.) At the time, Ellison told the Minneapolis Star Tribune, “I think we need to talk about the issues that matter to the American people.” The Minnesota Democrat also claimed that the Obama administration had “abandoned them” in Iraq.

Ellison and other Democrats have faced criticism from within the party who argue that progressive rhetoric has unfairly been linked to racist and sexist attacks. The DNC defended Ellison as “unquestioned” and “fiercely independent” but said that it would look into allegations

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