Former presidential candidate and Vermont Gov. Howard Dean told members of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) gathered in Denver on Friday that he is no longer seeking the party chairmanship.
Three additional candidates—Rep. Keith Ellison (Minn.), New Hampshire chairman Raymond Buckley, and South Carolina chairman Jaime Harrison—gave their pitches to state party leaders Friday afternoon, hoping to lead the Democrats as they undergo a post-election reckoning.
Ahead of the forum, it was reported that Dean would not appear at the "Future of the Party Forum" in person, but would address the crowd by video. "Dean's absence is striking, as the [Association of State Demcoratic Chairs] helped put him over the top in his 2004 bid for DNC chairman by voting for him in their straw poll," The Hill noted.
While he did not back any candidate in his brief address, former party chair Dean said: "I know this job better than anyone in this room. It requires 80 hours of work a week and constant travel across the country to fundraise...this is a full-time job." The Hill wrote that represents "a hurdle to Ellison's bid."
He also said the fight to lead the party should not become a battle between Hillary Clinton supporters and Bernie Sanders backers.
After his announcement, Dean spoke with MSNBC:
BREAKING: Howard Dean chats with Hallie Jackson after dropping out of DNC chair race https://t.co/88JQZUVeqo— MSNBC (@MSNBC) December 2, 2016
Meanwhile, the Denver Post reports that "[s]everal others are also eyeing the race, including Ilyse Hogue, the president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, who earlier this week laid out her vision of where the DNC should head in a Medium post."
"I believe the DNC has an important role to play in regrouping after 2016, one that fully embraces the Wellstone triad approach to change: public policy that reflects peoples' needs, grassroots organizing that honors peoples' lived experience, and an electoral strategy that brings both to bear to ensure victory," Hogue wrote in that post. "The DNC should not just be a force every two years at election time, but it should also be a daily presence in peoples' lives, relevant in policy discussions and responsive to the ideas and concerns of people where they live. And everyone needs to know that Democrats fight for people, not for big corporate interests."
She went on to list 10 ideas "to shape the way we build our party for the sustained fights ahead," including fighting voter suppression, reforming the Electoral College, stopping gerrymandering, and reforming the primary process.
The party's next chair is scheduled to be picked in February.
One user streamed the candidates' remarks—including Dean's—on Facebook: