NEW YORK (AFP) — Democratic National Committee chairman Howard Dean on Wednesday voiced concern over the prospect of a brokered convention at the end of the party's White House nominating contests.
"The idea that we can afford to have a big fight at the convention and then win the race in the next eight weeks, I think, is not a good scenario," Dean said according to excerpts of an interview with NY1 television.
In state nominating contests so far, no clear winner has emerged among Democrats Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama for the party's nomination ahead of November's presidential vote to replace George W. Bush in the White House.
"I think we will have a nominee sometime in the middle of March or April. But if we don't, then we're going to have to get the candidates together and make some kind of an arrangement," said Dean, who failed in his bid for the party's nomination in 2004.
"Because I don't think we can afford to have a brokered convention -- that would not be good news for either party."
A brokered convention has not been seen in decades, and harkens back to an era of shady political deal-making when powerbrokers and cash kings -- instead of regular voters -- chose one candidate over another at a raucous, smoke-filled convention hall.
The comments by Dean highlighted the rising tensions among Democrats as rivals Obama and Clinton fight bitterly for delegate votes ahead of the Democratic National Convention in August, at which a nominee is officially selected.
For more than 50 years, each party has selected delegates who favor one nominee over another by a significant margin well ahead of the convention, which exists mainly for ceremonial and celebratory purposes.
The last conventions that required more than one ballot to designate nominees were in 1948 for the Republicans and 1952 for the Democrats.
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