Capitol Alert

California’s John Burton backs Keith Ellison for DNC chair

California Democratic Party Chairman John Burton, left, talks with Sen. Dianne Feinstein and then-Attorney General Kamala Harris after her remarks to Democratic delegates on Saturday, April 30, 2011 at the Sacramento Convention Center.
California Democratic Party Chairman John Burton, left, talks with Sen. Dianne Feinstein and then-Attorney General Kamala Harris after her remarks to Democratic delegates on Saturday, April 30, 2011 at the Sacramento Convention Center. hamezcua@sacbee.com

California Democratic Party Chairman John Burton waded Tuesday into the race for Democratic National Committee chairman, endorsing Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., over his rivals, including former Labor Secretary Tom Perez.

Burton, who leads the largest bloc of DNC voters, said in a statement that Ellison is committed full-time to organizing field efforts in key states.

“And I agree with him that Democrats must do a better job to motivate voters across the nation, including championing working families and their issues,” said Burton, pointing to overwhelming feedback from activists who back Ellison. “Keith knows that elections aren’t won in Washington, D.C. He understands the investment and support state parties need and will help foster a strong bench of candidates, effective field operations and open communication between the National Democratic Party and every state, especially those that need it the most.”

Burton, a former congressman and legislative leader, leaves the party post in May. He joins both candidates running to succeed him, Democratic activists Eric Bauman and Kimberly Ellis, in endorsing Ellison. The Oakland-based National Nurses United has been a force in advocating for the congressman.

Perez, meantime, has strong support from former officials in the Obama administration, including ex-Attorney General Eric Holder, who said in a statement Tuesday that “Tom not only knows how to take on big fights; he wins them.”

Christopher Cadelago: 916-326-5538, @ccadelago

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