Howard Dean elected chairman of U.S. Democrats

Sunday, February 13, 2005

Howard Dean at speech in 2003.
Photo Credit: John P. Hoke,, 23-June-2003.

Howard Dean was elected the chairman of the Democratic Party of the United States on Saturday. The former governor of Vermont and a presidential candidate in the 2004 elections was chosen by a voice vote of the 447-member Democratic National Committee. Dean replaces Terry McAuliffe as chairman of the committee.

The election of Dean to the post reflects the party's trust in his accomplishments during the presidential campaign. As a candidate, Dean mobilized support from across the country in his Dean for America campaign, using the Internet as a medium for organizing fundraising. According to MSNBC, the House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said "He has used the power of technology, the force of his personality and the depth of his ideals to bring new people into the party." Dean did not win the party's nomination, which instead went to John Kerry.

In his acceptance speech, Dean called for increased organization, and standing up for the party's platform. He said "Standing up for our beliefs, organizing, and transforming our party into a grassroots organization that can win in all 50 states: That's how we will rebuild the Democratic Party."

Dean's new position faces a mixed reaction from other politicians. The chairman of the Republican National Committee, Ken Mehlman, said that "Howard Dean's energy and passion will add to the political discourse in this country and he will be a strong leader for his party." Former Speaker of the House of Representatives Newt Gingrich has recently said that the Democrats should only elect Dean "if they have a true death wish."