Dean announces bid for Democratic Party chair

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(Host) Former governor Howard Dean has announced that he’s decided to seek the chairmanship of the national Democratic Party. For the past few months, Dean has been exploring a possible run for the position but he said he wouldn’t run unless he thought he had a good chance of winning.

Just a year ago, Dean was the front runner in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination. His campaign collapsed after he came in third in the Iowa caucuses.

Middlebury College political science professor Eric Davis says Dean’s candidacy is drawing interest because Dean has demonstrated the ability to raise money and build a political base using the Internet. Davis says the race offers a signal of the direction that party insiders want their organization to go in, following the loss in November’s presidential election.

(Davis) “One of the questions that the Democrats really need to think about is, what are the issues on which they want to focus their attack on President Bush? Do they want to focus on foreign policy issues, do they want to focus on social and cultural issues, or do they want to focus on some of the more traditional Democratic issues that involve the economy the distribution of economic resources in America and related topics.”

(Host) In a letter to his supporters, Dean said he still wants to represent “the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party,” and that he believes the recent political debate over values has become “a code word for appeasement of the right wing fringe.”

The 400 members of the DNC will meet in about a month to elect a new chairperson. It’s expected that at least five people will apply for the job.

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