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Biden backs Tom Perez in race to lead Democratic Party

The Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — Former Vice President Joe Biden is backing Tom Perez to head the Democratic National Committee, calling the Obama administration labor secretary the "best bet to help bring the party back."

Perez — a 55-year-old Takoma Park resident, and former Montgomery County and Maryland state official — is a Dominican-American civil rights lawyer who grew up in the Rust Belt. Biden cast him as a tireless champion of working Americans, immigrants and the disabled.

Biden says: "I've watched him work. I think I know his heart. That's why I endorse him as the next chairman of the DNC."

His support marks the highest-profile endorsement in the crowded race to lead the Democratic Party. The contest has rekindled party divisions exposed in last year's presidential primary campaign.

Perez supported Hillary Clinton. His stiffest competition comes from Keith Ellison, a Minnesota congressman backed by Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.

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