Former Gov. James Blanchard (search) said Tuesday he is considering entering the race for Democratic National Committee (search) chairman.

Blanchard will take part in a candidates forum at the Association of State Democratic Chairs (search) convention Saturday in Orlando, Fla.

The association's president, Michigan Democratic Executive Chairman Mark Brewer, said that Blanchard called on Tuesday and asked to be included. "He's coming to our forum, and we regard him as a candidate on that basis. It's a candidates forum," Brewer said.

"I am preliminarily exploring it because I've had a lot of encouragement," Blanchard told The Associated Press. "They said if there's any possibility that you might be running, you should be down there" at the meeting.

Blanchard, 62, was Michigan governor from 1983 to 1990 and was later ambassador to Canada. More recently, he helped run John Kerry's successful Michigan campaign. He said last week that he was not a candidate for DNC chairman.

Along with Blanchard, those scheduled to speak at the candidates forum are former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean (search); defeated Rep. Martin Frost (search) of Texas; New York businessman Leo J. Hindery Jr. (search); Donnie Fowler (search), who directed Kerry's Michigan campaign; Simon Rosenberg (search), founder and president of the centrist New Democrat Network; and former Denver Mayor Wellington Webb (search).

In a statement, Frost confirmed that he also is campaigning for the post of DNC chairman. He included a letter he sent to Brewer in which he emphasized that Democrats "cannot thrive and grow as a party of the people if we continue to narrow our targets to only certain regions of our country."

Democrats will vote at their February meeting in Washington on a successor to DNC chairman Terry McAuliffe, who is not running for another term.