Despite some rand-and-file grumbling over his leadership after the party's electoral blistering, John C. White said yesterday he hasn't decided whether he'll seek reelection as Democratic national chairman.
"It's always a ritual," he told a group of reporters, "to get' the chairman. But most of the people doing the yelling wouldn't know a Democratic National Committee member if he walked through the door.
"My advice is to let the dust settle."
White's open support of President Carter in the party primaries rankled many Democrats and led to calls for his resignation from the camp of Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.).
And in the wake of last week's debacle, some Democrats now are crying for White's scalp and urging the selection of a unification team to pick up the pieces and put the party back together.
White says he believes he would be reelected if he decides to make a run for the chairmanship. But for now, he said, the party has other, more pressing, priorities -- the largest being a regrouping for the 1982 congressional elections.
"You would have to be a nitwit not to realize we have problems in 1982 . . . we must begin now with direct mailing and an effort to raise money from small donors," he said, noting the Republicans' success in such endeavors during the past 15 years.
He predicted more trouble for Senate Democrats unless the party can find better ways to finance its candidates, who, in virtually every Senate race this year, were outspent heavily by Republican opponents.
The DNC executive committee will meet Dec. 9, and the full committee is scheduled to convene in February to talk about future direction.
White said one step he may propose is the convening of an issues conference in every state next year "to reexamine the positions that were taken in 1980 and to bring us all together at the mid-term convention."