The contest to head the Democratic National Committee remains fluid just days before activists meet to pick a new party chair.
The tight race between former Labor Secretary Tom Perez and Rep. Keith Ellison of Minnesota marks the first heavily contested battle in recent history, a reflection of a newly energized Democratic party struggling to find the best path forward after years of electoral losses.
Independent Democratic strategists tracking the race say Perez has emerged as the front-runner, with the backing of 205 committee members. Ellison has the support of 153 members. The strategists spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not allowed to discuss the vote counting publicly.
The 447 DNC members will vote during the party's meeting in Atlanta on Saturday, with as many rounds as required for a candidate to get 224 votes.