Wednesday, December 01, 2004

More DNC rumblings

From The Hill (link) comes further word on the race for the DNC chair. This article discusses two key power blocks in the upcoming decision: the congressional members and the state party leaders. Both of these groups, according to this article, are pushing for a DNC that will de-emphasize the race for the White House in 2008 and concentrate more resources on congressional and local races.

Congressional leaders and state party officials are insisting that the next chairman of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) radically redirect the committee’s resources toward congressional races and other local contests and away from the presidential enchilada.

In behind-the-scenes positioning, key congressional lawmakers are seeking to prevent the national party from lapsing into another four-year presidential gestation cycle, where the DNC serves as nothing more than an incubator for the party’s ambitions to capture the White House, say leadership aides.

That congressional strategy to deemphasize the presidential race is being paralleled at the state level, where party chairmen are withholding their endorsements and plan to swing their 112 votes in one bloc for a single candidate.

Those party leaders will seek to extract concrete assurances from the eight potential candidates for DNC chairperson who have been invited to address the Association of State Democratic Chairmen (ASDC) on Dec. 11 in Orlando.

This answer the question in my previous post on this topic: the potentials have been invited to the confab down in Orlando. And it does sound like Brewer is attempting to forge a unified block out of the state party leaders in a bid to become a kingmaker in the upcoming choice.

The invitees are:

  • Former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean
  • New Democrat Network president Simon Rosenberg
  • Strategist Donnie Fowler
  • Telecom executive Leo Hindery
  • Former Rep. Martin Frost (D-Texas)
  • Former New Hampshire Gov. Jeanne Shaheen
  • Former Denver Mayor Wellington Webb
  • Former White House Chief of Staff Harold Ickes
  • Former Dallas Mayor Ron Kirk.

The first four have already accepted and will give statements and participate in a Q&A session.

My gut feeling is that Dean will have the inside track with the state party leaders. He has already proven himself on the local level (Democracy For America's charter is almost a perfect match for the kind of things Brewer is asking for) and he has proven himself to be a persuasive individual when it comes to building coalitions.

I don't know how well Dean will play with the congressional bloc, nor do I know how much cohesion that group will have in the final vote. They are probably a mixture of old-line, establishment party types and activist, grassroots types so they could split without strong leadership to hold them together (Nancy Pelosi is, as I understand it, remaining mum on the whole matter for now).

Word on the blog street is that Frost may have inherited the Anybody-But-Dean crown from Vilsack, but I have also heard that he didn't win a lot of friends in the congressional bloc when he ran against Pelosi for the Leadership.

Here's my assessment: if Brewer can keep the state leaders together in a unified bloc and he can get them to endorse one candidate than I think that candidate will most likely be Dean and, with that endorsement, Dean will be 90% of his way to winning the position. Assuming Dean wants it of course. And assuming that the old-line leadership manages to demonstrate some lasting strength after the beating it has taken in the last few years.

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