Dean says he's concerned about a prolonged race

In a closed-door meeting with Sen. Reid and Rep. Pelosi, the DNC chairman said a continuing nomination battle could hurt the party's chances in November.

By Alex Koppelman
Published March 4, 2008 4:19PM (EST)

True, a majority of Democrats may think that Hillary Clinton should stay in the presidential race if she wins one of the big states up for grabs Tuesday night, but Democratic National Committee chairman Howard Dean is reportedly concerned about the effect a continuing battle could have on the party's chances to recapture the White House.

On the Trail, a Washington Post blog, reporter Paul Kane says that in a scheduled meeting last week with Democratic congressional leaders Sen. Harry Reid and Rep. Nancy Pelosi, Dean told Reid and Pelosi of "his concerns that an extended contest could pose potential long-term harm to the party's presidential ticket." Kane sources his story to "several strategists familiar with the closed-door meeting," who reportedly "stressed that Dean was expressing a long-held view that a lengthy primary only hurts the eventual nominee's chances against the Republican Party's candidate."

As Kane notes, all three party leaders have remained officially neutral in the race for the nomination, though surrogates for Reid have supported Clinton while Pelosi surrogates have come out in favor of Barack Obama. Dean's native Vermont is one of four states going to the polls Tuesday; Dean will, Kane says, not even cast a vote in the presidential primary, though he'll vote on other issues.

Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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