GROSSMAN, STEVEN , chair of national Democratic Party. Grossman was active in the American Jewish community and within Democratic politics. A graduate of Princeton and Harvard Business schools, he headed the Massachusetts Envelope Company that had been in his family since 1910. A leader of the Boston Jewish community, he served on the boards of Brandeis University, Beth Israel Hospital, and the Combined Jewish Philanthropies.
As a leader of the Democratic Party Grossman began his career within Massachusetts politics and was chairman of the Democratic Party in the state during the early 1990s, spearheading Bill Clinton's 20 point victory in 1992 and capturing enough Senate and House seats in Massachusetts to override the Republican governor's veto. His close association with Democratic politics and his relationship with the president was essential to his rise to leadership in the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (aipac), which had been increasingly moving to the right during the Reagan and George H.W. Bush presidencies and during Likud leadership in Israel. A Democratic and a strong supporter of the peace process, Grossman was named to head aipac, after his predecessor had committed the ultimate sin of American politics; he had been caught telling the truth about aipac's power, too directly and for attribution. Moderate but forceful, Grossman was a good choice, most especially during the Clinton-Rabin years where the organized Jewish community and their political supporters had to turn around their positions on the Palestinians and the Peace Process after the Oslo Accords.
He left aipac to serve as chair of the Democratic Party where his ties to the Clinton administration and his fundraising prowess served him in good stead. He made the transition successfully and seamlessly from Jewish leadership to national leadership of the Democratic Party, where Jewish support is a pillar of fundraising efforts.
Grossman was unsuccessful in his bid for the Democratic nomination for governor of Massachusetts in 2002 but became prominent again as chairman of the Howard Dean campaign for the U.S. presidency in 2004; Dean went from obscurity to front-runner status in near record time. Grossman was also instrumental in causing Dean to withdraw from actively pursuing the nomination when after deep losses, John Kerry's nomination became a foregone conclusion and Dean's chances were nil. Grossman held a press conference endorsing his home state candidate Kerry before Dean had formally withdrawn.