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The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Howard Dean edges closer to Democratic leadership position

[media-credit name=’Derek Montgomery’ align=’alignnone’ width=’648′]DeanHoward_dm_416[/media-credit]As current Chair of the Democratic National Committee Terry McAuliffe rounds out the final two months of his four-year term, former Vermont governor Howard Dean is gearing up to grab the position. The former Democratic presidential candidate was endorsed Tuesday to be the next Democratic National Committee chair by the Democratic Party of Wisconsin.

Last week Wisconsin Democratic Party Chair Linda Honold recommended a Dean endorsement to the Association of State Democratic Chairs committee, which in turn demonstrated overwhelming support for the former governor.

Tammy Baldwin’s Chief of Staff Bill Murat said this endorsement is considered a very important.


“[ASDC members] comprise a significant amount [of] the people who will be voting,” Murat said.

The ASDC is a group of 112 chairs and vice-chairs of every state. ASDC members are also part of the DNC, a group of 447.

News of Dean’s endorsement caused some candidates to drop out of the race and influenced others to reconsider their plans and stay out of the race.

Former Denver Mayor Wellington Webb dropped out of the race after the endorsement, and is now a supporter of Dean.

In addition to Dean, the three other official candidates are former U.S. House of Representative Martin Frost, Democratic Party strategist Donnie Fowler and New Democrat Network founder Simon Rosenberg.

Despite the competition, many believe Dean has the best chance of winning.

University of Wisconsin sophomore Brian Shactman, who worked for the Dean presidential campaign last year, said he thinks highly of Dean. He said Dean would do a good job as DNC chair.

“I think it’s a great thing that he is leading the Democratic campaign,” he said. “It’s time we have a platform that really defines itself, and I don’t think we got that with [John] Kerry.”

If elected, many believe Dean would bring considerable benefits to the Democratic Party. Honold pointed to Dean’s huge name recognition, impressive fund-raising skills and astute ability to activate grassroots politics.

“He has a clear plan for how to develop the party nationwide,” Honold said of Dean.

Because Tammy Baldwin has not announced any formal endorsements, Murat did not speak for the congresswoman when he also identified Dean as a strong candidate. Murat said Dean’s service as governor, an elected executive, provides him with a select perspective of the political process.

Murat added Dean’s former candidacy for president has allowed him to travel extensively, giving him “insight into the local factor which carries a considerable impact on the national political scene.”

Furthermore, Dean has had significant exposure to the national news media, according to Murat.

“He can effectively communicate using the traditional media as well as with state-of-the-art communication tools,” Murat said.

Conversely, some Republicans also favor Dean’s endorsement, though reasons may be of different motivation. State Republican Party spokesman Chris Lato said Howard Dean represents “the far left wing” and that his endorsement is “perfectly fine to us.”

“If the Democratic Party wants to alienate even more people … that’s fine,” Lato said. “If their response to the recent devastating losses is to go further liberal, that’s fine.”

He pointed to the Republican Party’s successful effort to reach moderate voters and go more towards the middle of the political spectrum.

The DNC will meet in Washington, D.C. Feb. 12 to vote for the DNC chair.

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