Howard Dean Leads Democrat Chairman Race, Abortion Still Divisive

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jan 20, 2005   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Howard Dean Leads Democrat Chairman Race, Abortion Still Divisive Email this article
Printer friendly page

by Steven Ertelt Editor
January 20, 2005

Washington, DC ( — Former presidential candidate Howard Dean is staking an early lead in the race to become the next chairman of the Democratic Party that is reminiscent of his quick rise to the top during the Democratic presidential primaries.

Yesterday, Dean, who backs abortion, announced that he had support from state party chairman in Mississippi, Utah, Oklahoma, Washington state and Vermont. He also has the unanimous backing of the Florida delegation to the Democratic National Committee.

Not content to rest on his laurels, Dean is planning so-called house parties around the nation to meet with grassroots Democratic leaders and curry additional support, according to an Associated Press report.

Meanwhile, former Indiana Congressman Tim Roemer, who has drawn strong opposition from some quarters because of his pro-life position, has collected backing from Louisiana Sen. John Breaux and California Rep. Ellen Tauscher, who is pro-abortion.

Simon Rosenberg, founder of the centrist New Democrat Network, who also backs abortion, has sewn up endorsement as well. He has been endorsed by former DNC chair Joe Andrew and former Dean campaign manager Joe Trippi.

Dean opponents say he is raking in early supporters because he represents the left-wing of the party and can easily find liberal Democrats willing to back him.

"The question about Dean is: While he will have a third of the vote easily, can he get to 50 percent?" Donnie Fowler, another candidate for the party chairmanship, told the Associated Press.

The race is contentious and no clear frontrunner other than dean has emerged. That has prompted some to cal on outgoing chairman Terry McAuliffe to stick around.

McAuliffe, who supports abortion, says he doesn’t plan to stay and that the race is "wide open."

Other candidates include former Denver Mayor Wellington Webb, former Rep. Martin Frost of Texas, and former Ohio state party chairman David Leland. All three support abortion.