'Serious discussions' about DNC changes, top Democrat says

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House Majority Whip James Clyburn, D-S.C., arrives to meet with other House Democrats on the morning following Iranian attacks on bases in Iraq housing U.S. troops, at the Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2020. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

WASHINGTON, D.C. – A top Democrat in Congress said Friday the party's future under Tom Perez is under scrutiny amid fallout from the Iowa caucuses and the winnowing of the presidential primary field to the exclusion of candidates of color.

Rep. Jim Clyburn of South Carolina, the third-ranking House Democrat, stopped short of saying Perez must go as leader of the Democratic National Committee.

“That's a decision for him,” he said.

But the highest-ranking African American lawmaker in the House said during an interview with C-SPAN's “Newsmakers” that Iowa shouldn't play such an outsize role as an early vote state and that debate rules left “very raw feelings” within the Congressional Black Caucus after the exit of black presidential hopefuls Kamala Harris and Cory Booker.

“There are some serious discussions taking place here on Capitol Hill as to what ought to happen at the DNC,” Clyburn said in the interview.

“'Iowa should be in the mix, but we shouldn’t launch the entire campaign with such a small sampling with what the country’s all about,” he said.

Perez didn't immediately comment on Clyburn's remarks Friday.

Previously, the DNC chairman has defended the rules setting minimums for polling and the number of individual donors, noting that the party started at a low threshold last June and gradually raised the requirements over time. All 20 slots were filled in the first two debates, and two stages were required for much of the fall.