Mississippi Democrats to Welcome Dean

In a little over a month, former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean will be in the Magnolia State. While here he will serve as guest speaker for a dinner in Jackson to honor Democratic elected officials in the state.

Dean has made public his desire to be the new chairman of the Democratic National Committee. Local party officials say it appears his wish could become true.

"A lot of people like him," says Lauderdale County Democratic Chair Melba Clark. "He has better name recognition and Howard Dean was a strong contender for the Democratic nomination until the media saw him a little out of character and made an effort, I think, to portray him as some kind of buffoon and it turned the people against him."

This is something which Dean and his supporters say they hope will not happen in this situation.

While the visit in March will mark Dean's first official stop in Mississippi, Clark says the visit is not a strategy for Dean to get elected as DNC chair.

"Of course," says Clark, "the election for the DNC chairman is going to be held before then. So, when he comes to speak to us, the election will already have been held."

So far, the Lauderdale County Democratic Committee has not endorsed anyone for the position. However, it plans to discuss the issue at its next meeting Monday.

Democratic representatives from throughout the nation will vote on the national chairmanship next month.

Dean will speak Tuesday, Mar. 1, at the Clarion Hotel in Jackson. The cost is $100 per ticket. For more information, you may contact Melba Clark at (601) 485-8882.

Others are also interested in leading the Democratic National Committee:

Simon Rosenberg, a party strategist who founded the New Democrat Network.

Martin Frost, a former Texas congressman who led the Democrats' congressional campaign committee.

Tim Roemer, a former Indiana congressman.

Wellington Webb, former mayor of Denver and the only black candidate.

David Leland, a former Ohio Democratic chairman and veteran party activist.

Donnie Fowler, a Democratic strategist and son of a former national chairman.