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Sources: Reid, Pelosi backing Roemer for DNC chair

From Steve Turnham
CNN Washington Bureau


WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Amid strong competition over who will lead the party as the next Democratic National Committee chairman, former Indiana congressman and 9/11 commission member Tim Roemer has emerged as a possible new candidate.

He has the strong backing of Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid and House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, senior party sources told CNN Tuesday.

Roemer, in a written statement, confirmed that he had been approached about the post. While he was noncommittal, he indicated he is open to the idea.

"I have been approached very recently by several prominent Democrats inquiring about my interest in seeking the post of DNC chair," he said. "While I am flattered by their confidence in me, I have made no formal decision to seek the post. I am, however, consulting with my family, friends and Democrats around the country to assess this potential opportunity, and expect to make a decision very soon. The new DNC chair will have an important role to play in helping shape the future organization, message and direction of the party, and it's an exciting opportunity for whoever takes on the task."

With the support of Reid and Pelosi, Roemer immediately has an advantage over the declared candidates, former presidential candidate Howard Dean and former Clinton aide Harold Ickes.

Reid is strongly encouraging a Roemer bid, according to the sources.

Roemer's experience on the 9/11 commission, together with the fact that he comes from a "red state" -- one that voted for President Bush -- were decisive factors in Reid's decision to back him, the sources said.


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