Perez on Maryland Chatters Podcast: ‘I’ve Got Georgia on My Mind’

Tom Perez, chairman of the Democratic National Committee, speaks during the March on Washington at the Lincoln Memorial in August. Photo by Jacquelyn Martin-Pool/Getty Images.

Democrats lost ground in the U.S. House of Representatives and fell short in down-ballot races across the country during the 2020 election ― but Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez sees many silver linings.

Perez told Maryland Matters that, despite the party’s losses in the 2020 election, he’s taking a “long view” of how the Democratic Party is doing. During his term, Perez wrestled the party out of debt and saw Democrats take control of the House in 2018 ― not to mention serving as a challenger ousted an incumbent president for the first time since 1992.

Perez, who lives in Takoma Park, said President-elect Joe Biden’s victory, coupled with the Democratic governors elected during his term, means the party has a bright future.

“If you go back to 1900, about once a quarter century you defeat an incumbent president,” Perez said. “And so I’m really proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish.”

Perez was interviewed by reporter Bennett Leckrone for the latest episode of “Maryland Chatters,” Maryland Matters‘ new podcast.

Although his four-year term as DNC chairman is set to end in a few months, Perez says he isn’t thinking about his next moves.

Perez’s name has been floated for positions in the Biden administration, and some political professionals have speculated that the former U.S. secretary of Labor ― who held the same job in Maryland and also served on the Montgomery County Council ― might run for governor in 2022.

But Perez said he’s laser-focused on flipping the Senate in the upcoming Georgia runoff elections. Perez described those runoffs, which pit two Republican incumbents against Democratic challengers, as “razor-thin” races. Democrats need to win both races on Jan. 5 to seize control of the Senate.

“I’ve got Georgia on my mind,” Perez said. “I’m focused on making sure we sprint to the finish line there. And then when my term ends, it doesn’t end until February, I’m going to focus on what’s next for me.”

In the second half of “Maryland Chatters,” reporter Elizabeth Shwe has a seasonal interview with former state Sen. Thomas M. “Mac” Middleton (D-Charles) ― who happens to be a Christmas tree farmer.