Tom Perez, Former DNC Chair, Runs for Governor of Maryland

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Politics|Tom Perez, former D.N.C. chairman, begins campaign for governor of Maryland.

Tom Perez, a former Democratic National Committee chairman, began his campaign on a platform largely tied to his experience working in the Obama administration.

Tom Perez at the Democratic National Convention last year.
Credit...Gabriela Bhaskar for The New York Times

Reid J. Epstein

June 23, 2021

Tom Perez, the former Democratic National Committee chairman, on Wednesday began a campaign for governor of Maryland on a platform largely tied to his experience working in President Barack Obama’s administration.

“I’m the son of immigrants from the Dominican Republic, I could have never dreamed the president of the United States would give me the chance to make a difference,” Mr. Perez said in a video announcing his candidacy. “But there’s a lot left to do, and that’s why I’m running for governor.”

Mr. Perez, 59, served in the Justice Department and as labor secretary before Mr. Obama backed him to run the D.N.C. in 2017. He has teased a run for governor since his term as party chairman ended in January. The video is heavy on footage of the former president praising Mr. Perez, calling him “one of the best secretaries of labor in our history.”

He joins a crowded field of candidates to replace Gov. Larry Hogan, a Republican who is barred by term limits from seeking a third term in office, that includes eight Democrats and two Republicans.

Though Mr. Perez has deep connections to national Democratic officials and donors, others in the race have far more recent experience in Maryland politics, including Peter Franchot, the state comptroller, and Rushern Baker, the former Prince George’s County executive, who placed second in Maryland’s 2018 Democratic primary for governor. Mr. Perez was elected to the Montgomery County Council in 2002 and served as Maryland’s labor secretary from 2007 to 2009.

Mr. Perez, in the video announcing his campaign, stood before his home in suburban Washington and promoted his connections to the state. Yet at the end of the video he is shown wearing a Washington Nationals jersey — a rival of Maryland’s baseball team, the Baltimore Orioles.

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