- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 16, 2017

Rep. Keith Ellison of Minnesota told his supporters Thursday that Tom Perez’s claim that 180 members of the Democratic National Committee are backing his campaign is bogus.

Mr. Ellison urged his supporters not to believe the hype and described the effort as a political scare tactic.

“One of the other great candidates for this race released an unverifiable public whip count earlier this week,” Mr. Ellison said in an email blast. “You received a voicemail, email and text message trying to make the race sound like it is over. And the goal is clear: to exert pressure on you.”

On Tuesday, the Perez camp said that Arlanda Williams from Louisiana became the 180th member of the DNC to pledge their support for Mr. Perez’s campaign, and on Thursday it stood by the tally.

“We are proud of the broad support we’ve received from over 180 DNC members, but it’s clear that this race is far from over,” said Xochitl Hinojosa, a spokesperson for Mr. Perez. “Tom will spend the next 10 days traveling across the country to talk to Democrats about rebuilding our party.”

Mr. Ellison and Mr. Perez are viewed as the front-runners in the race for the top post at the DNC.

The contest will come to a close next week when the 447 members of the DNC cast their votes in Atlanta. The winner needs to 224 votes to win the post.

South Carolina Democratic Chair Jaime Harrison, New Hampshire Democratic Chair Ray Buckley and South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg are also among the contenders.

Mr. Perez’s supporters on the DNC have said they believe the count is a conservative tally and that his support could be even stronger.

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