A failed US White House contender looks set to lead the Democratic Party after his only opponent bowed out on Monday.
Dean's presidential campaign peaked early but fizzled out
Correspondents say Howard Dean is expected to win the party chairmanship in an election on 12 February.
Tim Roemer, his last opponent in a what was once a field of seven, withdrew, warning that Republicans are in their strongest position in a century.
The former Indiana congressman said he had wanted 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," the Associated Press quoted Mr Roemer as saying.
Mr 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, AP reported.
Mr Dean, the former governor of Vermont, was ultimately unsuccessful in his bid to be the Democrats' presidential candidate in last year's election.
He won only one primary - in his home state, after he had suspended his campaign - but he galvanised Democrats early on in the contest with his attacks on President George W Bush and criticism of the war in Iraq.
He also proved a strong fundraiser - a quality required of party chairmen.