DNC Chair Tom Perez Hints That Iowa May Lose First Caucus, Rejects Calls to Resign: 'We Have Been Winning'

Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez rebuffed critics calling for his resignation in the wake of the Iowa caucus debacle and hinted that the Midwest state may lose its privilege to host the country's first presidential caucus.

Speaking with CNN's Jake Tapper Sunday, Perez said the DNC will very likely discuss revoking Iowa's role as the first presidential candidate contest after this election cycle. Last week's caucus, which was marred with app failures, recanvassing and accusations of DNC corruption, may have been the final straw in Iowa's fight to maintain the primary season's traditionally vaunted caucus.

High-profile Democrats, including Minnesota's Ilhan Omar and New York's Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, have demanded Perez be "held accountable for this failure" in Iowa. But Perez instead highlighted the party's wider electoral successes.

DNC Chairman Tom Perez says he has "absolutely not" considered resigning amid criticism: "My job, when I came in, was to rebuild our infrastructure, to win elections... We have been winning" #CNNSOTU pic.twitter.com/qpRtmwxnIk

— CNN (@CNN) February 9, 2020

"Is Iowa about to lose their first-in-the-nation caucus status? CNN's Tapper asked Perez Sunday. "It's not difficult to imagine South Carolina, New Hampshire, other states that are out of the process -- Illinois for example, the governor there is making a pitch saying, 'Iowa, you lost your chance, you screwed up, it's time for another state to take over.' Is that possibly going to happen?"

"That's the conversation that will absolutely happen after this election cycle," Perez said. "And after the last election cycle we had a conversation about two really important things -- superdelegate reform and the primary caucus issue that we're discussing now and that's going to happen again. I have no doubt about it because it's very necessary."

Perez said the Iowa Democratic Party "runs the actual election," but he acknowledged the DNC is also responsible for ensuring the process runs much more smoothly than what occurred last week. He said there were previously calls to conduct a "virtual caucus" over the phone, but ultimately that was denied over cybersecurity concerns.

When asked if the Iowa Democratic Party "pressure tested" the faulty app, Perez said, "with hindsight, not nearly enough."

Tapper then listed off several Democrats who have been critical of his DNC leadership, including Ohio Congresswoman Marcia Fudge who said the party is in chaos. "Have you considered resigning?" the CNN host asked.

"Absolutely not," Perez responded. "Jake, look at the last three years. My job when I came in was to rebuild our infrastructure, to win elections. And when you do that, sometimes you've got to make tough decisions. Our superdelegate reform? I have great respect for Congresswoman Fudge -- she doesn't support it. I get that and I respect it, but I categorically disagree with her on this. We have been winning."

Perez said this early presidential primary stretch is "the most unsettling phase of the cycle," and he compared these next few months to 1991, when then-President George H.W. Bush had "sky high" approval ratings and no clear Democratic contender.

"We're in a similar position now in that I don't know who the nominee is going to be," Perez said. "We're barely out of the starting gate, and the angst is elevated because we have the most dangerous president in American history. But here's the good news. We've been winning elections in 2017, 2018, 2019. We are better positioned to hand out nominee an infrastructure for success than ever before."

Liberal filmmaker Michael Moore has been one of Perez and the DNC's most vigilant critics, telling Status Coup's Jordan Chariton Saturday: "It's ... more important that they save their old corrupt system full of hacks than it is getting rid of Trump."

dnc chair tom perez iowa
Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez rebuffed critics calling for his resignation in the wake of the Iowa caucus debacle and said the Midwest state may likely have lost their privilege to host the country's first presidential caucus. Screenshot: CNN | Twitter