Democrats are enlisting Howard Dean to lead a new operation they hope will help their party match Republicans' success in using voter data to win elections.

Dean is a one-time presidential candidate and former Vermont governor who is beloved by state Democratic Party leaders from his time as Democratic National Committee chairman.

Current party Chairman Tom Perez has been pushing a data exchange that will let party organizations and outside groups build a joint voter file. But he's run into opposition from state parties over money and control.

Democrats tell The Associated Press that Dean's participation will help seal the new arrangement.

Republicans put together a similar data trust ahead of the 2016 elections, and Democrats admit it caught them off guard and helped put Donald Trump in the White House.

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