A group of political activists has given up its bid to draft former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean (search) as the Democrats' vice presidential candidate.

Leaders of a committee of Dean's backers, who had vowed to mount a floor fight to draft Dean at the Democratic National Convention (search), has decided "to close ranks" behind the party's ticket, said Michael Meurer, committee co-chairman.

"(Dean) definitely is urging all of us to campaign, volunteer, donate and campaign hard for the Kerry-Edwards ticket," Meurer said Tuesday. "And we're going to do that."

The announcement last week by presumptive nominee John Kerry that he had tapped North Carolina Sen. John Edwards as his running mate took a lot of the momentum out of the draft Dean movement.

"I think he's the most appealing choice that Kerry could have made for Dean supporters," Meurer said.

The National Draft Dean for VP Committee is not giving up on its infatuation with the former Vermont governor, who appeared to be the frontrunner for the nomination through a good part of last year but quickly fell out of contention after taking third place in Iowa and failing to win New Hampshire.

The group now is lobbying the Democratic National Committee to put a resolution before the convention lauding Dean and what he accomplished during the campaign.

"We're going to drop the floor fight and we're going to sponsor a resolution on the floor of the convention to pay tribute to Governor Dean for his contributions to the party this year and to show support of Dean Democrats for the Kerry-Edwards ticket," Meurer said.

Dean is widely credited with setting the tone of the 2004 Democratic campaign with his strong criticism of President Bush and his own party's leadership.