- The Washington Times - Monday, November 22, 2004

The Democratic National Committee yesterday voted to adopt rules that will govern elections for a new slate of top officers, as two candidates removed their names from contention.

The DNC Rules and Bylaws Committee voted unanimously in an open meeting held over a conference call to adopt the same rules used by the committee in 2000 with no changes. The existing rules have been essentially the same since 1989.

“The rules provide that candidates for any officer position must file by 8 p.m. two calendar days before the election and be signed by 20 DNC members,” said Phil McNamara, director of party affairs.

The election will take place at the party’s annual winter meeting Feb. 10-12, with the elections for the top officer taking place on Feb. 11.

DNC Chairman Terry McAuliffe is not seeking another term, and several high-profile people have asked that their names be removed from consideration.

Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack yesterday officially announced that he will not seek the post, citing his responsibilities as governor.

“These challenges and opportunities require more time than I felt I could share. As a result, I will not be a candidate for DNC chairman,” he said.

Earlier this month, Mr. Vilsack, an ally of failed presidential candidate Sen. John Kerry, telephoned several DNC members, seeking advice and asking them to withhold temporarily endorsement of any candidate.

Mr. Vilsack has been mentioned as a potential presidential candidate in 2008, a factor that would make holding the party chairmanship a difficult task.

“Because I will be the senior Democratic governor in the country, I will continue to be an active voice in our party and a zealous and committed advocate for a Democratic agenda of opportunity, responsibility and security,” Mr. Vilsack said.

Alexis Herman, the secretary of labor under President Clinton, also said yesterday that she will not seek the chairmanship. Some Democrats had urged her to pursue the post.

Former presidential candidate Howard Dean has called party regulars, expressing his interest in the DNC job.

On Sunday, Rep. Martin Frost, Texas Democrat, said on CNN’s “Late Edition” that he might run for the chairmanship, having lost his re-election bid.

“It’s a very complicated decision. I am looking forward to being in private life in Washington D.C., and we’ll see what the future brings,” Mr. Frost said, while acknowledging that he would be a long shot for the job.

Other Democrats interested in the job or being asked to pursue it include Harold Ickes, chairman of the Media Fund; Leo Hindery, former chairman of the Yankees Entertainment & Sports Network LLC, a New York-based sports cable channel; former Denver Mayor Wellington Webb; and former Dallas Mayor Ron Kirk.

This story based in part on wire service reports.

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