Democratic Gov. Howard Dean signed up a veteran party activist Monday to help him raise money for his expected run for president.

Former Democratic National Committee chairman Steve Grossman said he supported Dean at least in part because of Dean's help during his unsuccessful bid for Massachusetts governor.

"He was very much involved and supportive,'' said Grossman, a former chairman of the Massachusetts Democratic Party. "I've been impressed with his political courage, which I think is in very short supply in America today.''

Dean is retiring as Vermont governor in January and plans an official announcement of his presidential candidacy after that. He is expected to announce the appointment of a campaign manager this month.

Grossman was chairman of the Massachusetts Democratic Party in 1991 and 1992, and was national chairman of the party from 1997 to 1999. His short-lived campaign for governor ended in July.

Dean was clearly pleased to attract a prominent national party figure from one of his rival's home states. Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., is considering a presidential bid of his own.

Grossman said his decision to join Dean was not a reflection on Kerry.

"I guess that is a message of my respect for Howard that I'm willing to do that even though I recognize there is likely to be a downside in my home state,'' he said.