Former Democratic National Committee Chair Howard Dean said Thursday that he is running for the gig once more, pledging to recreate the cross-country approach to revitalizing the party that he used when he first held the job.
Dean ran the DNC after his failed 2004 presidential bid, promising a 50-state, grassroots strategy that was the hallmark of his insurgent campaign. In practice, that meant building up Democratic resources in places where the party was not competitive, with hopes of winning local offices and eventually wresting control of federal seats from Republicans.
The party scored big wins in the 2006 election cycle, though Dean faced pushback from others in leadership for using resources in non-critical states that could have been used in toss-up elections. He was back at the helm during the 2008 election, when Barack Obama won the presidency and the party expanded its congressional majorities.
In jumping into the race to replace interim Chair Donna Brazille, Dean will no longer be the sole progressive option that he presented when he first ran in 2004. Already, Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) has indicated that he is going to run for the position, and he enjoys the backing of Dean’s fellow Vermonter, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.).