Biden ‘not interested’ in running for Democratic Party chair

WASHINGTON (AP) — Vice President Joe Biden closed the door Tuesday on the possibility of leading the Democratic Party after leaving the White House next year.

Biden’s name has been floated in recent days among Democratic insiders looking for someone with the stature and position to lead the party out its electoral abyss. Democrats urging him this year to run for the Democratic National Committee chairmanship had said his appeal to white, working-class voters might help the party refocus after losing badly among those voters to President-elect Donald Trump.

“The vice president is not interested in being DNC chair, but he intends to remain deeply involved in helping shape the direction of the Democratic Party moving forward,” his spokeswoman, Kate Bedingfield, said.

Largely leaderless other than outgoing President Barack Obama, the Democratic Party early next year will choose a new national chairman following devastating losses in the 2016 elections. Longtime Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz stepped down under pressure during the Democratic National Committee. Since then, interim Chairwoman Donna Brazile has led the party, also under pressure after stolen emails showed she’d communicated with Hillary Clinton’s aides about potential questions to be asked in campaign forums.

“Joe Biden is the one person who I think could bring the party together, the progressive wing of the party, the left and center, and start giving a cogent message to those working-class Democrats who abandoned us,” former DNC Chairman Ed Rendell told CNBC earlier Tuesday.

Bowing out of the DNC race means Biden will likely cease to have a formal role in the party come January after serving more than four decades in elected office.

He’s expected to remain a public voice and has discussed with universities the possibility of setting up a policy center or institute. He’s also said he’ll continue to work on the “moonshot” he launched after his son died to accelerate cancer research.

Biden faced even louder calls last year to run for president, but ultimately declined.

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