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Steve Israel downplays talk of being a candidate to lead DNC

Rep. Steve Israel is seen at the Democratic

Rep. Steve Israel is seen at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia on Monday, July 25, 2016. Photo Credit: Newsday / Thomas A. Ferrara

PHILADELPHIA — Rep. Steve Israel sought Wednesday to downplay talk that he’s among those who might next lead the Democratic National Committee, saying that there are “a number” of better candidates and that now isn’t the time for the party to settle the question.

“I could think of a number of people who are a lot better fit than me,” said Israel (D-Dix Hills), who isn’t running for re-election to Congress. “But more than that, nobody needs to be spending all this much time on this decision now. Our focus right now has to be Hillary Clinton — so she can make the decision later, after she’s elected.”

Israel has been one of three names floated so far to replace DNC chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who was forced to resign on the eve of the party’s national convention after published emails showed the committee acting to favor Clinton over Sen. Bernie Sanders in the primary elections. Other names mentioned include former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm and Stephanie Schriock, head of Emily’s List, a group that works to elect Democratic women who favor abortion rights to office.

Democrats chose party veteran Donna Brazile to serve as interim chairwoman through Election Day. Israel said he thought it unlikely a decision on a permanent chair would be reached before then.

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