Hindery Pulls Out of DNC Race

Leo J. Hindery Jr., a former cable-TV executive searching for a home on the national political stage, has dropped out of the race for Democratic National Committee chairman.

Hindery quit the race Friday, just as state Democratic party leaders were converging near Orlando, Fla., to hear pitches from eight men hoping to replace current DNC head Terry McAuliffe and figure out how to move a few “red states” into the party’s column in the 2008 presidential election.

In a prepared statement, Hindery did not provide a reason for his decision.

“After an intense period of consultation with my closest friends and advisors and with my political heroes, [Sen.] Tom Daschle [D-S.D.] and [Rep.] Dick Gephardt [D-Mo.], I have decided not to seek the chairmanship of the party at this time,” Hindery said, leaving the door ajar for a run in the future.

Hindery entered the contest known as a fund-raiser and contributor, but he was clearly a fresh face to reporters on the political beat. Veteran columnist Robert Novak, appearing on C-SPAN last Friday morning, mentioned Hindery as a possible McAuliffe successor, but in doing so, he seemed to struggle with the pronunciation of Hindery’s name.

In an interview with Multichannel News one day before bowing out, Hindery didn’t indicate that he was about to abort a quest that involved toppling such prominent party figures as former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean and former Michigan Gov. James Blanchard, plus a few battle-tested party insiders with experience shaking the money tree.

But he did suggest that there wasn’t a lot of time to build support for the DNC chairman election in Washington, D.C., Feb. 12.