A battle is underway within the Democratic Party as competition for its leadership heats up.
Contending for the top role of chairman of the Democratic National Committee are Howard Dean, who ran the DNC when President Obama was elected, and former Maryland Governor and Democratic presidential candidate Martin O’Malley. Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and progressive activist organizations, however, are pushing for Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison for the role, the Daily Mail reported.
Democrats have been in disarray in the wake of Hillary Clinton’s devastating defeat and Dean believes he is the man to restore order to the party. While he thinks Ellison is “a very good guy,” he believes the plan to put the African-American and Muslim congressman in charge is not practical.
“I like Keith Ellison a lot. He’s a very good guy,” Dean told MSNBC on Friday. “There’s one problem: you cannot do this job and sit in a political office at the same time. It’s not possible.”
Dean, who ran the DNC from 2005 to 2009, pointed to the failed attempt by ex-DNC chair and House Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz to hold two positions.
“We’ve seen what happens,” he said. “It does not work. This is more than a full-time job.”
Dean is “very interested” in becoming the DNC chair, noting that the party has to “rebuild from what has been a tragedy not only for the Democratic Party, but perhaps for the country.” The current, interim head of the DNC and former CNN contributor, Donna Brazile, came under fire when hacked emails showed she alerted the Clinton campaign of questions the network planned to ask the candidate at a forum.
Sanders and New York’s Sen. Chuck Schumer are backing Ellison who currently co-chairs the Congressional Progressive Caucus and is chief deputy whip to House Democrats. The congressman, who backed Sanders during the Democratic primary race, was re-elected last week to a sixth term has been hailed as a ‘bridge builder’ between the party establishment and the far left, according to the Daily Mail.
Dean noted that the DNC made a lot of mistakes in the 2016 election race and emphasized again how being its chairman is a full time job.
“On the losing side, there’s going to be turmoil,” Dean said. “The best thing to do is not start fighting each other. We’ve got to work together.”
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