July 29, 2004
Howard Dean’s howl has been hushed, but his influence continues to carry.
Since suspending his quest for the presidency in February, Dean has publicly endorsed five Democratic candidates for office in Arizona and the East Valley.
Recipients of his support say an endorsement from the former governor of Vermont means more volunteers, more money and more name recognition.
But officials with the Arizona Republican Party, say an endorsement from Dean could be a political death blow in Arizona.
Regardless, Democrats and Republicans say the Dean name will carry some influence as Arizona voters head to the polls this fall.
East Valley resident Edward Ableser, who is battling for a seat in the state House of Representatives, recently won Dean’s support.
Ableser, who is running in District 17, which includes Scottsdale and Tempe, said the endorsement has helped.
"We’ve had many people drive up from Tucson to volunteer on the campaign," he said.
Besides Ableser, Dean has endorsed Paul Babbitt for the U.S. House of Representatives, and Scott Clark, Mark Manoil and Nina Trasoff for seats on the Arizona Corporation Commission.
Dean has made his endorsements through Democracy for America, a political action committee that supports grass-roots candidates. According to the PAC’s Web site, Democracy for America is dedicated to supporting fiscally conservative, socially progressive candidates at all levels of government.
Colin McCracken, communications director for the state Republican Party, said a Dean endorsement could backfire in a traditionally conservative state.
"I don’t think anyone with the type of liberal Northeastern politics like Dean could gain any traction in a state like Arizona," McCracken said.
"Considering how well Dean’s quest for the presidency went," he said, "we can only wish those candidates the same kind of luck."
But Sarah Rosen, spokeswoman for the state Democratic Party, said Dean’s support gives candidates the backing of a powerful name.