Obama Cabinet member Perez may run against Ellison to lead DNC

President Obama's labor secretary, Tom Perez, is rumored to be ramping up his bid to chair the Democratic National Committee.

Perez has worked within government most of his life and is an advocate for both a higher minimum wage and paid parental leave.

He's also been a civil rights advocate and has gone after discriminatory voter ID laws.

The current front-runner for the job, Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison, hails from the progressive wing of the party. He was an early backer of Sen. Bernie Sanders' primary challenge to Hillary Clinton.

RELATED: Rep. Keith Ellison announces DNC chairman candidacy

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U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) speaks at breakout session "From Demonstration to Legislation: How Organizing Will Win Back Progressive Power" at the Netroots Nation annual conference for political progressives in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S. August 11, 2017. REUTERS/Christopher Aluka Berry

Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) speaks during the first session at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S. July 25, 2016.

(REUTERS/Mark Kauzlarich)

U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders (C) stands on stage with his wife, Jane O'Meara Sanders (R), and U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison (DFL-MN) before speaking to supporters during a campaign rally in St. Paul, Minnesota, January 26, 2016.

(REUTERS/Eric Miller)

Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) is arrested by U.S. Capitol Police after blocking First Street NW in front of the U.S. Capitol with fellow supporters of immigration reform, on October 8, 2013 in Washington, DC. Last week, House Democrats introduced their own immigration reform bill.

(Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., attends a rally with low wage federal contract workers on the steps the Department of Labor to call for the minimum wage be raised to $15 per hour, April 14, 2016.

(Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Keith Ellison, D-Minn., leaves a meeting with House Democrats in the Capitol Visitor Center, June 22, 2016. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton spoke at the meeting.

(Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Congressman Keith Ellison speaks on stage during 'A More Perfect Union: Obama and The Racial Divide,' featuring Congressman Keith Ellison, Alicia Garza, Margo Jefferson, and Khalil Gibran Muhammad in conversation wiith Jelani Cobb during The New Yorker Festival 2016 at Acura at SIR Stage37 on October 9, 2016 in New York City.

(Photo by Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images for The New Yorker)

Rep. Keith Ellison, vice chair of the Democratic National Committee, speaks during a rally against the Republican tax bill on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., November 15, 2017. REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein
Democratic National Chair candidate, Keith Ellison, addresses the audience as the Democratic National Committee holds an election to choose their next chairperson at their winter meeting in Atlanta, Georgia. February 25, 2017. REUTERS/Chris Berry
U.S. Representative Keith Ellison (D-MN) (2nd R) smiles as he gets bundled for warmth by fellow Democrats, Representative Mark Takano (D-CA) (L-R), Representative Betty McCollum (D-MN) and Representative Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), as House Democrats gathered for remarks on immigration legislation on the steps of the U.S. Capitol in Washington January 13, 2015. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS SOCIETY IMMIGRATION)
WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 21: Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) waits to speak during a press conference outside the U.S. Capitol in opposition to the involvement of U.S. military forces in Syria March 21, 2017 in Washington, DC. U.S. members of Congress voiced their concern about 'escalating U.S. involvement in the Syrian Civil War�during the event. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - FEBRUARY 28: Tom Perez, left, chairman of the Democratic National Committee and deputy chairman Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., are interviewed in Statuary Hall before President Donald Trump addressed a joint session of Congress in the Capitol, February 28, 2017. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
Representative Keith Ellison, a Democrat from Minnesota, speaks during the Democratic Farmer Labor (DFL) Party endorsement convention in Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S., on Sunday, June 17, 2018. The DFL will endorse a primary candidate for the seat of Representative Keith Ellison, a democrat from Minnesota, as he runs for state attorney general. Photographer: Emilie Richardson/Bloomberg via Getty Images
WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 19: Democratic National Committee Deputy Chairman Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) addresses a rally against Trump Administration education funding cuts outside the U.S. Capitol July 19, 2017 in Washington, DC. Democratic members of Congress also addressed the rally, which was organized by the American Federation of Teachers, the AFL-CIO and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 12: U.S. Sen. Keith Ellison (D-MN) speaks during a news briefing December 12, 2017 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) spoke on the Labor Department's recently-proposed rule 'to make tips the property of employers; and the impact of the rule on restaurant workers' wages and rights.' (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 24: Congressman Keith Ellison attends the Lifetime Panel Discussion with Congressman Dan Kildee, 'Flint' cast, executive producer and Flint residents the CVC Congressional Auditorium on October 24, 2017 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images for Lifetime)
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He's been endorsed for the role by the AFL-CIO and Sanders himself, as well as establishment Democrats like Sen. Chuck Schumer.

More from Newsy: Who Will Lead The DNC?

But Ellison took a hit when he was called out by the Anti-Defamation League, which claimed some of his comments about Israel were anti-Semitic.

His supporters brush this aside as a smear campaign against the first Muslim member of Congress.

These distractions seem to have opened the door for Perez, whose Dominican family heritage and past labor advocacy gives him a unique platform to reach both Hispanic and white working-class voters.

More from Newsy:On His Way Out, Obama Enacts Rule Defending Planned Parenthood Funding

But Perez's candidacy might not sit well with the progressive left due to his support of the Trans-Pacific Partnership and other centrist Obama administration initiatives.

Whoever is chosen will have to bridge the gap between establishment Obama-types and the progressive wing of the party led by Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.

DNC members will vote on their next chair in late February.

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