Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley has taken himself out of the race to lead the Democratic Party, he confirmed Wednesday morning.
“While I’m grateful to the supportive friends who have urged me to consider running for DNC Chair, I will not be seeking our Party’s Chairmanship,” O’Malley said in an email to his supporters. “The DNC needs a Chair who can do the job fully and with total impartiality. The national interest must come first.”
O’Malley added that he and his family plan to “do everything in our power to fight for the Democratic Party, and for the more compassionate and inclusive country that we carry in our hearts.”
Last week, O’Malley said that he had been approached by “many Democrats” who seek new leadership in the DNC. The former 2016 presidential contender said he considered the position in order to have an hand in how the party will “reform our nominating process, articulate a bold progressive vision, recommit ourselves to higher wages and a stronger middle class and return to our roots as a nationwide, grassroots party.”
With O’Malley bowing out of the race, Rep. Keith Ellison (Minn.) remains a top contender for the position. Ellison has already garnered support from high-ranking Democrats such as Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and recently elected Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (N.Y.)
Previous DNC chairmen came under fire during the 2016 election as leaked emails showed Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz favoring Hillary Clinton for the party’s presidential nominee over Sanders. Former CNN contributor Donna Brazile, who became acting chairwoman after Wasserman Schultz's departure this summer, was revealed to have leaked debate questions to Clinton.
As Politico reported, former Vermont Gov. and onetime DNC Chairman Howard Dean and South Carolina Democratic Party Chairman Jaime Harrison are also contenders to head the party.
Voting for the next DNC chairman is not expected until February.