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New Hampshire Democratic State Party Chairman Ray Buckley Exits DNC Chair Race, Backs Keith Ellison

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New Hampshire Democratic State Party Chairman Ray Buckley is no longer running to lead the Democratic National Committee, instead endorsing Rep. Keith Ellison. (Credit: CNN)

New Hampshire Democratic State Party Chairman Ray Buckley announced Saturday that he is exiting the race to lead the Democratic National Committee and is endorsing Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minnesota.

“From the moment I stepped into this race, I made it clear that the top two priorities of the next DNC chair must be to strengthen state parties and reform the DNC,” Buckley said in a statement. “Now, many candidates have spoken about these issues, but Keith’s commitment to the states and a transparent and accountable DNC has stood out.”

Ellison, in the same statement, said he was glad to have Buckley’s support.

“Throughout this race I’ve heard loud and clear from DNC members that this is a moment to use all our talents to rebuild the party from the grassroots up,” Ellison said in the statement. “That is why I am proud to have Ray’s support.”

Ellison has also received notable backing from Sen. Bernie Sanders, D-Vermont, and former Vice President Walter Mondale.

Former Labor Secretary Tom Perez is considered Ellison’s most serious challenger and has also received significant backing, including the support of former Vice President Joe Biden and four governors.

Others in the race include mayor of South Bend, Indiana, Pete Buttigieg, and South Carolina Democratic state party chairman Jaime Harrison.

CNN will host a debate, moderated by CNN’s Dana Bash and Chris Cuomo, featuring several candidates on Wednesday.

The DNC leadership election is scheduled for February 25.