I was at the Sacramento meeting of the DNC candidates this past weekend, and the sentiment of the DNC members at the meeting (western states) was fairly strong Dean, with a lot of secondary consideration for Frost and Rosenberg.
A bunch of people were impressed with the personable Wellington Webb, but as funny as he was (and he's hilarious), he turned me off when, during prepared remarks, he pointed to the DNC members and told them that they were the Democratic Party. I tend to think that its the millions of party supporters who are the Democratic Party, not 440 DNC members.
David Leland was the most bizarre candidate on the stage. Here's a guy who ran the nation's most inept Democratic Party -- Ohio's -- and is trying to parlay that stunning lack of success into running the national party. His spin on his tenure? When he left the helm of the Ohio party, all of the state's big cities were held by Democrats. What is the guy thinking?
Dean got the loudest cheers, as he drew hundreds of supporters (who else in the party, other than perhaps Hillary, could do the same?). Rosenberg got big cheers by being the only candidate to forcefully advocate reforming the primary calendar.
Democracy for Texas, the Lone Star's Dean group, polled Texas delegates to their state convention (not DNC members), and found Dean was preferred 69-25 over Martin Frost. Six percent supported other candidates.
The Democratic Governor's Association is apparently not making an endorsement (or bolstering an "anti-Dean", for that matter). They released the following statement:
Democratic Governors have been visiting with each person seeking the Chairmanship and have had one on one conversations with these candidates about the future of the Party. In our estimation, any of the individuals interested in serving as DNC Chair would do an excellent job and we are certain that the next Chair will recognize that the future of the Party rests in state-based organizing. We hope that there will be no litmus test on a single issue
Meanwhile, Newsweek reports that the anti-Dean forces have all but given up
In the meantime, with the DNC meeting approaching on Feb. 12, party insiders have been conducting an urgent, so far fruitless, search for a consensus Dean-stopper. The Clintons don't like Dean on substance or style, seeing him as too left and too loose-lipped. But they're being careful. Hillary, already eying a presidential run in 2008, doesn't want to alienate the possible winner; she's leaving DNC maneuvers to Bill, whose answer last month was to sound out current chairman Terry McAuliffe about remaining in the job. (He declined.) The Clintons are said to have encouraged a good friend, veteran organizer Harold Ickes, to enter the chairman's race, but he begged off, too. Party leaders approached former senator Bob Kerrey, but he told them he would rather keep his job as president of the New School University.
Last week the search for a surefire Dean-stopper (if there is one) reached new levels, NEWSWEEK has learned, with several governors--among them Ed Rendell of Pennsylvania and Bill Richardson of New Mexico--trying to gin up a last-ditch plan: let Dean be chairman, but confine his role to pure nuts-and-bolts duties by layering him with a new "general chairman" spokesman for the party. They abandoned the idea after realizing that they didn't have the votes to change the rules--and because the person they wanted to take the new role, Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm, told them she had no interest.
Five of six Colorado DNC members are already committed to Webb. But Webb won't win, so the bigger question is who their second choice might be. And if this article
is any indication, it looks like Dean has a strong presence in the state. And Dean seems to be working the delegates well:
Privately, Dean has impressed many delegates with lengthy phone conversations grilling them about what they think the party needs.
"Nobody else besides Dean asked me about my plan and seemed to really listen," said New Mexico delegate Gloria Nieto.
Three weeks left...
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