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Hindery Eyes DNC Chair Post

12/09/2004 4:00 PM Eastern

Done dueling with the Dolans, Leo J. Hindery Jr. now wants to help the Democrats.

Ex-Yankees Entertainment & Sports Network CEO Hindery -- a former Republican who has donated millions of dollars of his cable cash to Democratic candidates and party groups in recent years -- is running to replace Terry McAuliffe as chairman of the Democratic National Committee.

With Congress and the White House in Republican hands, Hindery, as DNC chairman, would share the national spotlight with Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).

“I have a passion for the party and its causes,” Hindery said Thursday. “Leaders and managers and executives are chosen based on the needs of the time.”

Hindery said he has the support of Sen. Tom Daschle (D-S.D.) and Rep. Richard Gephardt (D-Mo.), both of whom are exiting Congress next month.

Hindery will jet to Orlando, Fla., this weekend to woo Democratic state committee leaders, trying to put some distance between himself and a crowded field that reportedly includes former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean, retiring Rep. Martin Frost (D-Texas) and Clinton loyalist Harold Ickes.

“It’s an awful lot of work. All you do is make phone calls and fly around,” Hindery said.

The DNC election will be held Feb. 12 in Washington, D.C. If he wins, Hindery said he would leave HL Capital Inc., his family investment firm. “My full time job would be chair of the DNC,” he added.

It’s-a-small-world footnote: One possible Hindery rival is party foot soldier Donnie Fowler. Several years ago, Fowler toiled in the Federal Communications Commission’s Cable Services Bureau -- the division charged with making sure Hindery’s cable company, Tele-Communications Inc., didn’t overcharge subscribers.

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