After losing Michigan in a presidential election for the first time since 1988, the Democratic Party is signaling a renewed focus on the state.
Democratic National Committee chairman Tom Perez will be in Detroit and Flint this weekend on the first leg of a national “Democratic Turnaround Tour.” Other stops on the tour include New Jersey, Texas, and Virginia.
Perez told Stateside that the Democratic Party needs to make a greater effort to connect with voters.
“We didn’t do a good enough job of communicating our mission, our message, and our vision to voters,” he said. “And that’s exactly why we’re here, listening and learning and putting our values into action.”
Democratic losses in Michigan in 2016 were not limited to the top of the ticket. Republicans control all branches of the state government and nine out of 14 congressional seats.
There was an echo of that primary battle in February, when Perez narrowly defeated Minnesota Congressman Keith Ellison to claim the DNC chairmanship.
Nonetheless, Perez disagrees with any perception that the Party is divided.
“I think we’re very united,” he said. “Look at the debate right now on the Affordable Care Act. There’s not one Democrat supporting the repeal of the Affordable Care Act.”
Perez also noted that he will be joined on the tour by his former rival, Keith Ellison, who now serves as the Party’s deputy chairman.
Ellison had planned on being in Michigan on the first day of the tour, but he had to remain in Washington after Republicans delayed a vote on the Affordable Care Act replacement bill.
Listen to our full interview with Tom Perez, above.