Feb 18, 2017 12:29 PM

NH party chair Ray Buckley bows out of race to lead nation's Democrats


CONCORD --The longtime chair of New Hampshire's Democratic party is ending his bid to lead the national Democratic party.

Ray Buckley announced on Saturday that his is throwing his support for Democratic National Committee chair behind Congressman Keith Ellison of Minnesota.

“From the moment I stepped into this race, I made it clear that the top two priorities of the next DNC Chair must be to strengthen state parties and reform the DNC,” Buckley said in a statement. “Now, many candidates have spoken about these issues, but Keith’s commitment to the states and a transparent and accountable DNC has stood out."

In a statement issued in the same release, Ellison said that if he wins the party chair race, Buckley would play a large role in helping lead the party’s operations. The election for DNC chair gets underway next week when the national party gathers in Altanta.

Buckley told NH1 News on Saturday that as a result of his decision, he'll run for a sixth term as state party chair.

Buckley first detailed his interest in serving as the next DNC chair in an interview with NH1 News from the floor of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia in July, two days after Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida stepped down as chair amid controversy.

The longtime NHDP chair is also a DNC vice chair who has also served the past eight years as president of the Association of State Democratic Party Chairs. Buckley served 18 years in the Legislature and has held a variety of roles in the state and national party for decades.

NBC News was first to report the news that Buckley was ended his DNC chair bid.

The move by Buckley to back Ellison, rumored in recent weeks among some of the 447 voting members of the party, gives Ellison new momentum heading into the final days before the election as he campaigns against fellow front-runner Tom Perez, who was Secretary of Labor in the Obama Administration.

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