Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., a top contender to become the next chair of the Democratic National Committee, would not say yet whether he would step down from his position in Congress should he be chosen.

“Well, you know, the most important criteria for a DNC chair is going to be vision,” when asked about it Sunday morning by ABC’s George Stephanopoulos. “Do you have the vision to help empower and channel the energy at the grassroots level? This is not about one person; this is about millions of people all working together to protect and advance the interests of working Americans. That’s what it’s really about: vision and the ability to mobilize and inspire people at the grassroots. That’s what the most important criteria is going to be for any DNC chair.”

He added, “I’ve been talking to people all over the country, city council members, grassroots leaders, party leaders, members in Congress — and you know what? The truth is I’ll have something to say real soon.”

Other Democrats considering a run for the position are former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean and former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley. Dean, who previously served as DNC chair from 2005 to 2009, said a “full-time chair” is need after a rough several months for the group, which began when hacked emails released by WikiLeaks showed former chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, a congresswoman from Florida, was involved in a plot to undermine Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders’ primary campaign in favor of Hillary Clinton. Her replacement, interim chair Donna Brazile, also has been subject to controversy, as emails have shown she supplied Clinton debate questions during the primaries.

“Look, I like Keith Ellison a lot. He’s a very good guy. There’s one problem. You cannot do this job and sit in a political office at the same time. It’s not possible,” Dean said on MSNBC on Friday.

Though Ellison, the first Muslim elected to Congress, has not formally announced his intention to compete for the chairmanship in March, he already has the support of Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, incoming minority leader Chuck Schumer of New York and Sanders, who tweeted that Ellison “understands the future of the Democratic Party has got to be grassroots activism.”

Ellison echoed that sentiment Sunday, saying “I think you’ve got to have a vision to strengthen the grassroots.”

“To strengthen the grassroots at the party — at the party unit, at the county level, at the precinct level, and then to help motivate and facilitate the local grassroots to get out there and turn out the vote and boost turn out,” he added. “And then to help govern in places where we do hold city councils and state legislatures. And then also they’ll be part of that loyal opposition. We need to invest at the local party unit and focus our energy on turnout. That’s how we come back, and we can come back.”

Ellison added that the party needs to “make the voters first. Not the donors first.”

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“I love the donors and we thank them, but it has to be that the guys in barber shop, the lady at the diner, the folks who are worried about their plant is going to close — they’ve got to be our focus,” he continued. “They’ve got to be a laser-beam focus on everything we do, and everything we do should animate and empower them at the grassroots level for working people across this country. That’s how we come back.”

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