Democrats No Closer to Choosing Chairman, Abortion Still Contentious

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jan 7, 2005   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Democrats No Closer to Choosing Chairman, Abortion Still Contentious Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
January 7, 2005

Washington, DC ( — Leading Democrats are still no closer to choosing a new chairman and abortion continues to be a controversial issue in the race to become the next head of the DNC.

Former Clinton White House adviser Harold Ickes was one of two candidates to drop out of the hunt in recent days. He told the Washington Times that grassroots Democrats are still waiting to see who many party leaders back.

"Very few people have made commitments yet," Ickes said. "A lot of them are looking to see where some of the party leadership is going to go, where organized labor is going to go."

Former Dallas Mayor Ron Kirk was the other candidate to end his bid for the chairmanship. Some observers say that boosts the chances of Denver mayor Wellington Webb.

Both come from outside of Washington and both draw from the same African-American constituancy. Webb is serious enough in his effort to have hired a political consultant to lobby DNC members who will vote for a new chairman.

The Times reports that Democrats have yet to coalesce around a remaning candidate.

Part of that is because of a rift between some who don’t mind reaching out to pro-life Democrat Tim Roemer, a former Indiana congressman and member of the 9/11 panel, and others who don’t want to upset key abortion advocacy groups who still control the party to a large extent.

The DNC is led by many abortion advocates who are rallying behind pro-abortion former Texas Congressman Martin Frost of Texas.

Abortion advocates have made it clear they don’t want Roemer to replace outgoing chairman Terry McAuliffe, who extensively used the issue of abortion to bash President Bush during the campaign.

However, the party’s top two Democrats, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid and pro-abortion House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi have both encouraged Roemer to run.

Ickes told the Times, though, that Roemer "may run into a stiff breeze" from the party’s dominant pro-abortion wing.

Other candidates include Simon Rosenberg, the founder of the New Democrat Network; party strategist Donnie Fowler, son of former DNC Chairman Donald Fowler of South Carolina; and former Vermont governor Howard Dean. All back abortion.