What's Howard Dean Doing in Iowa?

Dean may return to support state-level politicians over the next year or two.

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Howard Dean  addresses supporters at his caucus night party in West Des Moines, Iowa, Jan. 19, 2004.
Howard Dean addresses supporters at his caucus night party in West Des Moines, Iowa, Jan. 19, 2004.

Former Gov. Howard Dean, D-Vt., will visit Iowa Aug. 21 and may return to support state-level politicians over the next year or two, a source close to Dean tells U.S. News.

Dean dramatically flooded Iowa with young anti-war volunteers during his 2004 bid for the Democratic presidential nomination. He led polls before losing the Iowa caucuses and delivering a shrill speech that was widely lampooned in the media.

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The former governor's upcoming visit, first reported by The New York Times, will be to attend an Iowa Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO meeting in Altoona, a suburb of Des Moines.

The labor union invited Dean to speak and outgoing Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, "heavily encouraged" him to attend the event, the source said.

Harkin was among Dean's most prominent presidential campaign supporters. Vice President Joe Biden, a not-so-coy 2016 presidential aspirant, is attending Harkin's annual steak fry Sept. 15, the Des Moines Register reports.

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It's not clear if Dean actually has presidential politics on his mind. The reason for his trip next week is to promote the state-level campaign effort of Democracy for America, the organization he founded after his failed presidential campaign.

DFA's "Purple to Blue Project" is currently focused on five 2013 races for the Virginia House of Delegates, but in 2014 will shift its focus to Iowa's legislature, a priority certain to attract speculation about Dean's future.

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