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Cuomo, Bradley Back Brown for Democratic Chief

December 21, 1988

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Democratic Party activist Ron Brown pocketed endorsements Wednesday from New York Gov. Mario Cuomo and New Jersey Sen. Bill Bradley in his bid to become the party’s next national chairman.

Cuomo, who once taught Brown at St. John’s University Law School, said his former student would be ″superb″ as head of the Democrats. Bradley said Brown would bring ″even-handed, fair and strong leadership in the years ahead.″

Neither Cuomo nor Bradley has a vote in the election to choose a new party leader next February, but both are influential with Democratic National Committee members from their own states and are well-known nationally.

Shortly after Cuomo issued his endorsement, New York Democratic chairman Laurence J. Kirwan, an ally of the governor, said he would vote for Brown.

″These endorsements, and the support I have received from other leaders of the party, also indicate that the next generation of Democratic leaders see my candidacy as a commitment to the future of the party as well as to its traditional values,″ Brown said in a statement after getting backing from Cuomo and Bradley.

Brown is one of five contenders in the race to replace outgoing party chairman Paul Kirk. The others include Michigan Democratic chairman Richard Wiener and former Reps. Jim Jones of Oklahoma, Mike Barnes of Maryland and Jim Stanton of Ohio.

Jones also announced several endorsements Wednesday.

Scott Widmeyer, aide to Jones, said he received the backing of Reps. John Lewis of Georgia and Ike Skelton of Missouri and also Louisiana Gov. Buddy Roemer.

Brown is best known for serving as Jesse Jackson’s top aide at last summer’s Democratic National Convention, but he has also worked for Sen. Edward M. Kennedy and was active in Michael Dukakis’ presidential campaign this fall after Jackson was defeated for the nomination. He served as deputy chairman of the Democratic National Committee from 1981 to 1985.

He earlier was endorsed by Kennedy and former Arizona Gov. Bruce Babbitt, and his strategy of emphasizing support by prominent Democrats is in contrast to the approach taken by Wiener.

The Michigan chairman has made public the names of party chairs and vice chairs from several states in the West and Midwest who have endorsed him. Few if any of them are known outside their states, but all will have a vote in the election to pick the next chairman, and they reflect Wiener’s natural base among state party leaders. He is the head of the Association of State Democratic Chairs.

The Democratic National Committee will meet on Feb. 9-10 to pick a successor to Kirk.

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