WASHINGTON – Tim Roemer (search), the only remaining opponent of Howard Dean (search) in the race to be chairman of the Democratic National Committee (search), said Monday he's bowing out of the race — but he offered a warning to Democrats.
Dean, the former presidential candidate and governor of Vermont, is expected to win the DNC chairmanship at the election Feb. 12.
Roemer, a former congressman from Indiana and a member of the Sept. 11 commission (search), said Democrats must be more inclusive in their outreach to fast-growing parts of the country.
"I got into this race five weeks ago to talk about the devastating loss we experienced in November," Roemer said in an interview. "It was not about 60,000 votes in Ohio. It was about losing 97 of the 100 fastest growing counties in the country. If that's a trend in business or politics you're in trouble."
Republicans are in the strongest position they've been in since the early 20th century, Roemer said.
Roemer, who said top Democrats in Congress encouraged him to enter the chairman's race, said he wants to strengthen Democrats' position on national security.
"If there's one reason Senator Kerry lost the presidential race, it was because he failed to make the American people feel safer," Roemer said, adding that he also wanted to encourage talk within the party about developing a stronger position on values.
Roemer said he hoped to make the party more inclusive, especially on the issue of abortion. He opposes abortion except in cases of rape, incest and the health of the mother.
His opposition to abortion rights sparked early opposition in the race from abortion choice advocates.
Aides to Dean, the only candidate standing from the original seven-man field, said he continues to make calls to DNC members to assure his choice as chairman.
Dean has said he will focus his efforts as chairman more on building the party at the local, state and national level, raising money and winning elections, while elected officials will be more responsible for policy positions.