Howard Dean leaves role with progressive group he founded
© Getty Images

Howard Dean is leaving his role at Democracy for America (DFA), the progressive group he founded told The Hill on Friday as he gears up for another run for Democratic National Committee chairman

The former Vermont governor founded DFA in 2004, and when he left to helm the DNC from 2005 to 2009, his brother, Jim Dean, took over as chairman in 2005. 


Following his DNC tenure where he oversaw major Democratic gains, Dean returned to DFA to work as a special adviser. He will end that role on Friday.

“Founding DFA was one of the greatest honors of my life and, while I’m stepping back from my role with Democracy for America today, I could not be more proud of the grassroots movement we’ve created together and what they will do going forward,” Dean said. 

Dean was at odds with his own group during the Democratic presidential primary. 

While DFA endorsed Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Dean backed Hillary Clinton, who later went on to win the primary and lose to Donald Trump earlier this week in a stunning defeat. 

After major Democratic losses at the top of the ticket and in Congress on Tuesday, the party is eyeing new leadership for the top DNC post. 

Dean announced on Thursday that he’s running for a second time and believes the Democratic Party needs to focus on a 50-state strategy and build up party infrastructure even in more Republican strongholds. 

DFA hasn’t endorsed anyone for DNC chair, but the group hosted a conference call with reporters Thursday night with Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), who said he will announce his decision on Monday. 

Sanders and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) have already backed Ellison’s run. Ellison, the first Muslim elected to Congress, was an early endorser of Sanders in the presidential primary. 

DFA executive director Charles Chamberlain said on the Thursday call that “the party’s grassroots base, not party insiders and political elites” should have a hand in deciding the next national party chair. 

Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley also announced on Friday that he is “taking a hard look” at running for DNC chief. He unsuccessfully ran in the Democratic presidential primary.