Thursday, October 12, 2006

Horserace View of Mark Warner Announcement

Yes, we still have a mid-term election to get through before we can really start to concentrate on the '08 presidential race, but former Virginia governor Mark Warner made a big announcement this morning that will certainly clarify things (though frankly, I'm not sure why it had to come out now -- the focus needs to be placed on winning the House and Senate, and not jockeying for '08 positioning):
In a statement released shortly before his 11 a.m. press conference here, Warner said, "This has been a difficult decision, but for me, it's the right decision." He said he made up his mind after celebrating this father's 81st birthday in Connecticut and touring colleges with his oldest daughter.

"I know these moments are never going to come again. This weekend made clear what I'd been thinking about for many weeks -- that while politically this appears to be the right time for me to take the plunge -- at this point, I want to have a real life.

"And while the chance may never come again, I shouldn't move forward unless I'm willing to put everything else in my life on the back burner."

[...]

The decision to abandon a presidential run could position Warner to be a vice presidential pick for the eventual Democratic nominee. Or it could allow him to seek Virginia Republican John Warner's U.S. Senate seat if Warner retires in 2008.

Kos sums up where we are with the potential '08 field:

The biggest winner of the 2008 field? There are several. John Edwards, already the frontrunner in my opinion, loses the only serious southern opponent. Already strong in Iowa and Nevada, this will make him the prohibitive favorite in the fourth contest in South Carolina. If he wins the first three out of four, he's looking pretty good.

Bill Richardson becomes the only serious candidate in the race who is a governor, making it easier for him to distinguish himself from the crowd.

As for HIllary, this is a double-edged sword. She loses the one candidate who probably could've gone toe to toe with her on the money front, and the one who had easily built up the most innovative, competent campaign team. But, Hillary will do best if the field remains cluttered with a ton of men. That way, she can win primaries with 30 percent of the vote. If the field narrows quickly, she'd be in trouble. (Of course, I'm still not convinced Hillary is running...)

Finally, this opens up a hole in the field for another compelling "outsider" not tainted with being part of the DC establishment. Right now, the only serious outsider in the race is Wesley Clark. Another governor? The pickings are slim this year. Obama? Perhaps still too raw, but he's ambitious and the rumors are flying fast and furious. His recent dis of Daily Kos might even be a sign he's burnishing his "centrist" credentials (though his spokesmen pleaded selective quotation on the part of the writer to make the quote seem more inflammatory than it really was).

Again, an interesting sidelight to the current election, but don't lose focus on this year. Constant vigilance!


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