Jul 27, 2016 8:13 PM
NH1 News Political Director
PHILADELPHIA – Ray Buckley says he’s been inundated with calls, emails and texts the past 12 hours, from friends excited about the possibility of the longtime New Hampshire Democratic Party chairman becoming chair of the Democratic National Committee.
While Granite State political reporters have long thought that Buckley would be a serious contender to serve as the next permanent party chair, he received national attention on Wednesday thanks to a Politico article that listed him as one of around a dozen possible contenders to steer the DNC starting next year.
Speaking one-on-one with NH1 News from the floor of the Democratic National Convention, Buckley said “it’s certainly going to be up to President Hillary Clinton to decide,” before adding that “it’s certainly been an exciting day hearing from so many friends across the country.”
Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida, who’s served five years as DNC chair, announced on Sunday that she’d resign from her party position following the conclusion of the convention. Her move was sparked by the publication over the weekend of nearly 20,000 hacked party emails, some of which suggested the DNC was favoring Hillary Clinton during the primary calendar. The hacked emails backed up long time claims from Sen. Bernie Sanders that the national party working against him rather than staying neutral in the epic Democratic nomination battle between the Vermont senator and the former secretary of state.
Interim chair Donna Brazile, a DNC vice-chair and longtime Clinton family friend who also served as campaign manager of Vice President Al Gore’s 2000 White House bid, plans to serve until next January.
If Clinton wins November’s presidential election, she’ll choose the next DNC chair. If she loses party committee members will elect a new chair in January.
Buckley, who was vice-chair of the NHDP before taking over as chairman, is also a DNC vice chair and president of the Association of State Democratic Chairs.
Asked who’s reached out to him to say they’d love to see him as DNC chair, Buckley told NH1 News “well certainly members of the LGBT community because it would break that glass ceiling, there’s never been an openly gay leader of either party. And that would be historic in itself. But certainly the hundreds and hundreds of folks that have worked with me or for me over the last 40 years. They’re already all over Facebook talking about it."
"A lot of Bernie supporters who saw the fairness that existed for that year in New Hampshire and my willingness to go the extra length to make sure Bernie got on the ballot in New Hampshire. So obviously other chairs and vice chairs, you know I’ve been head of the state chairs for eight years now. I’ve been a member of the association for nearly 20 years, having been vice chair of the party for three years. So literally hundreds of folks around the country have been expressing their excitement," he added.
Buckley then mentioned again that “it’s not going to be up to me. It’s going to be up to President Clinton to make that decision.”
But Buckley said he’s got a pretty good relationship with both Hillary Clinton and former President Bill Clinton.
“I obviously got to know them on their first trip up (to New Hampshire) in 1979 and felt very close to them during the White House years and I hope I was very fair to her in ’08 and again in ’16,” he said.”
As for the other possible contenders, Buckley said “everyone who’s being mentioned are good friends of mine. I would love them be the chair themselves. So I would be happy with whatever she chooses.
Asked if he make sure that New Hampshire keep’s it’s first-in-the-nation primary status in the Democratic calendar if he becomes DNC chair, Buckley answered “you know that is one worry I do not have. Bill and Hillary Clinton will be with New Hampshire until the last dog dies.”
That was a reference to Bill Clinton’s famous line from a speech he gave in Dover, New Hampshire when he was first running for president in 1992.
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