- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 16, 2017

Former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell is backing Pete Buttigieg’s bid to become the next chairman of the Democratic National Committee, adding his name to the long list of current and former party leaders that are hoping to influence the outcome of the race.

Mr. Rendell, who chaired the DNC from 1999 to 2001, joined former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland in endorsing Mr. Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana — breaking with their respective state party chairman, who have endorsed former Labor Secretary Tom Perez.

“After a year of historic division within the Democratic Party, I believe we need a fresh face at the helm of the DNC,” Mr. Rendell said. “We need someone who understands the needs and values of middle class Americans and what that means in different parts of the country. Someone who will be an innovative thinker not wedded to solutions proffered only inside the Beltway. We also need someone who can bring the party together and lead us to victory at all levels.”

“I believe that person is Mayor Pete Buttifieg,” he said.

Mr. Buttigieg has positioned himself as an alternative to Mr. Perez and Rep. Keith Ellison of Minnesota, who have been dueling in what has been framed as a proxy battle between the more mainstream and progressive wings of the party.

A plethora of current and former elected leaders, as well as outside groups, have weighed in on the race for DNC chair. The 447 DNC members are slated to vote for a new chair next week in Atlanta.

Mr. Buttigieg, who supported Hillary Clinton over Sen. Bernard Sanders of Vermont in the 2016 presidential primary, has said the party does not have time to relitigate the primary race and cast himself as a red state Democrat that does not belong to any faction of the party.

Mr. Strickland last year ran to unseat Republican Sen. Rob Portman in Ohio, but lost in a landslide.

“The status quo has failed us, and the Washington power structure has let outreach to once reliable Democratic communities like Youngstown take a back seat to fundraisers in New York and California,” Mr. Strickland said. “I’m supporting Mayor Peter Buttigieg because he knows that the Democratic comeback won’t start in Washington.”

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