Former Vermont Gov. and Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean, who served as Democratic National Committee chair from 2005 to 2009, has taken his name out of the race to become the new DNC chairman.
Democratic strategist Donna Brazile has been serving as Interim DNC chair since Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida stepped down from the position on July 24, amid controversy, according to CNN.
"I really feel strongly that our party needs to turn itself over to the next generation, and I’m very happy to stay in the background and help coach whoever the chair is," Dean, told MSNBC on Dec. 2, just after announcing his withdrawal from the race. "I just think that one of the problems that we had in this election is that we’ve got to connect more with young people and that means not having faces like mine."
The front runner for DNC chair is now Rep. Keith Ellison, 53, of Minnesota.
Ellison was the first Muslim to be elected to the U.S. Congress, NPR reports. Furthermore, incoming Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and former Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders have endorsed Ellison’s bid.
“I know this job better than anyone in this room,” Dean said in pre-recorded video in which he announced his intentions to drop out, apparently slighting Ellison, who stated he will not relinquish his Congressional seat if he is elected, notes The Hill. “It requires 80 hours of work a week and constant travel across the country to fundraise … This is a full-time job.”
“I really do think this [Chairmanship] needs to go to a younger person, move ourselves onto the next generation,” Dean, who is 68, continued during his interview with MSNBC.
“I made this decision two or three weeks ago," he said when asked what changed his mind about running. "Once I was in, I got a quick lay of the land. I think that I would have, and could have won, just because of what we were able to accomplish the last time I was chair. But it also became very clear … to me that: one, if we weren’t really careful, this would be a Hillary [Clinton] versus Bernie proxy fight. I was for Hillary. Keith … was for Bernie … Two, if you really believe that you need to have young people attracted to the party, it’s better to have a young person running.”