The leader of the Democratic Party in New Hampshire announced Saturday that he is dropping out of the race to head his party’s national committee and backing Minnesota congressman Keith Ellison for the job.
In a statement released with Ellison, Ray Buckley said his former opponent has a strong plan to bolster state parties and reform the Democratic National Committee.
“While it was a tremendous honor to run for DNC Chair over the past few months, I am proud to throw my support behind Keith so we can ensure that the next Chair of the DNC is dedicated to investing in and strengthening state parties and ensuring that the DNC is an accountable organization,” the statement said.
Buckley said Ellison has widespread support among DNC members and that his plan for leading the organization is similar to his blueprint.
DNC members are scheduled to begin their winter meeting Thursday in Atlanta and will hold elections for new officers on Saturday. The new chairperson will replace Donna Brazile, who was tapped to lead the party on an interim basis following the resignation in July of Florida congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz.
She stepped down before the Democratic National Convention amid the release of committee e-mails that revealed an effort to tip the scales in Hillary Clinton’s favor during the Democratic presidential primaries.
If elected, Ellison said, he plans to tap Buckley to lead efforts to strengthen state parties.
“Because in this fight against Donald Trump and Republican-controlled states, we need every state party firing on all cylinders,” Ellison said in a statement. “That’s how we take our country back, and I cannot be more proud to have Ray Buckley by my side in this fight.”
A campaign spokesman said Buckley wasn’t available Saturday for an interview and a message left for him was not immediately returned.
Ellison is seen as a front-runner in the race along with former labor secretary Tom Perez, who has been endorsed by former attorney general Eric Holder and former vice president Joe Biden.
Buckley has led New Hampshire Democrats since 2007 and became president of the Association of State Democratic Chairs in 2009. During his tenure in New Hampshire, Democratic presidential candidates have won the swing state three times in a row and Democrats have won the governorship four out of five times.James Pindell of the Globe staff contributed to this report. Laura Crimaldi can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @lauracrimaldi.