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Keith Ellison's biggest competition for DNC chair just dropped out of the race

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Former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean announced Friday that he's dropping his bid to be the next chairman of the Democratic National Committee.

Dean, who ran the DNC from 2005 to 2009, was widely seen as the most formidable challenger to Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), the progressive congressman who's currently the frontrunner for the position. South Carolina Democratic Chairman Jaime Harrison and New Hampshire Chairman Ray Buckley are also still in the race.

We need to connect more with young people. That means not having faces like mine.
Howard Dean

Dean said he was dropping out of the race because he felt that the party needed new, younger faces.

"I feel strongly that our party needs to turn itself over to the next generation," Dean said on MSNBC on Monday. "We need to connect more with young people. That means not having faces like mine."

Here's Dean's full remarks on MSNBC.

Ellison still faces uphill battle

Ellison -- the first black Muslim elected to Congress -- has won endorsements from top Washington lawmakers, including Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY). 

But Ellison still faces an uphill battle.  The Obama administration is reportedly concerned about Ellison splitting his time between Congress and the DNC. And opponents have criticized Ellison's past statements  in support of the National of Islam.

Ellison's addressed that criticism on Twitter and in a Medium post.

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