Colorado Democratic Party Chairman Rick Palacio is campaigning for a vice chairman position with the Democratic National Committee after serving three terms running the state party. On Friday, he announced the endorsement of a number of elected officials and party luminaries from across the country.
Palacio, who holds the distinction of being the first Latino and openly gay man to chair a major party in Colorado, is one of 10 declared candidates for the DNC’s vice chair positions, which will be elected at the party’s winter meeting on Feb. 25 in Atlanta. (Because of complicated rules governing party offices, Democrats won’t know whether there will be one or two male vice chair slots until then, party officials say.)
He’s set to attend a regional forum for DNC candidates this weekend in Houston.
Seven candidates are in the running to chair the DNC, which has been reeling since a series of email leaks last year — engineered by Russian operatives, according to the U.S. intelligence community — forced U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida to step down as chair on the eve of the Democratic National Convention. President Donald Trump’s win in November, in addition, has the party on its heels as Democrats seek to define the party.
“Rick knows that our party needs to do a better job of listening, and that the great diversity of our party is what makes us strong,” said U.S. Rep. Jared Polis in an endorsement statement released by Palacio’s campaign. “We need his leadership on the national stage to stand strong in the face of Donald Trump,” he added.
U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter and U.S. House Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer of Maryland joined a dozen additional prominent Democrats, including the Texas and Kansas state party chairs, endorsing Palacio. (Palacio worked in Hoyer’s office before returning to Colorado to run for the party post in 2011.)
“I am honored to receive the endorsement and support of so many influential leaders from around the country,” Palacio said in a statement. “This coalition of supporters knows that we have to work together to stand up to Donald Trump and his reckless Republican allies. We need to ensure that all of voices are heard, and that organizing is driven, and supported, at the local level and in every community. That is what I’ll bring as DNC vice chair.”