Molly Beth Malcolm, the former head of the Texas Democratic Party, said Wednesday she is weighing whether to enter the race for chairman of the Democratic National Committee (search).

Malcolm is the first woman to consider the job to succeed Terry McAuliffe (search), who plans to step down next year. Nearly 450 DNC members will vote in February on the high-profile job that carries even more political importance with Republicans controlling the White House and Congress.

A petition to draft Malcolm was circulated last weekend at a meeting of state Democratic Party chairs in Florida. Former Dallas Mayor Ron Kirk (search), a potential candidate for the DNC job, noted during the session the lack of women candidates for the post.

In a telephone interview, Malcolm said the petition drive surprised her but added that the party has been losing ground with women and needs to put them "in a substantive role, not just a speaker's role."

Among the potential DNC candidates are former presidential candidate Howard Dean, defeated Rep. Martin Frost (search) of Texas, former Clinton adviser Harold Ickes (search) and party activist Donnie Fowler (search). Former Indiana Rep. Tim Roemer (search) said Tuesday that he is considering whether to join the race.

Malcolm, a Republican-turned-Democrat, served as the party's Texas chairwoman from 1998 to 2003.