Senator Harry Reid Backs Rep. Keith Ellison for Democratic National Committee Chair

Image: Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid speaks during a news conference in Las Vegas
Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) speaks during a news conference in Las Vegas, Nevada October 13, 2015.LUCY NICHOLSON / Reuters

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By Christina Coleburn

Outgoing Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid on Sunday threw his support behind Rep. Keith Ellison to be the next Democratic National Committee chairman.

‎"My friend Keith Ellison is a terrific leader and a strong progressive who knows how to get things done," Reid said in a statement. "Now is the time for new thinking and a fresh start at the DNC. Now is the time for Keith."

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Reid's show of support comes after incoming Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer's Friday endorsement.

In the aftermath of Hillary Clinton's stunning loss and President Barack Obama's nearing departure, a leadership crisis has consumed the Democratic party. Progressives are seeking to fill the power vacuum and the momentum is currently behind Ellison.

The Minnesota congressman said Sunday on NBC's "Meet the Press" that the next DNC head needs to ensure that the party becomes a "champion" for working people.

"Every single Democrat in this country better be thinking the exact same way," Ellison said. "How can we help the average American worker, you know, right out there, worrying about whether that plant's going to close. Fighting for them, standing up for them."

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The next DNC chair will play a critical role as the party regroups and will need to mitigate internal rifts between its establishment and populist sectors.