...and Then There Were Nine

A fond farewell to Senator Bob Graham, who yesterday decided to withdraw from the Democratic presidential race. As candidates go, I certainly had nothing against Graham, particularly given the fact that, of the four Senators in the race (Edwards, Graham, Lieberman, and Kerry), he was the only one who had voted against authorizing war against Iraq. But there does come a time when you have to look at your chances realistically, and I guess Graham decided that time was now.

Analysts are saying that this early withdrawal improves his chances of appearing as a vice presidential candidate, and frankly, that wouldn’t surprise me. Should Dean become the presidential candidate (I’m optimistic, but not confident enough to become complacent), I frankly think Graham’s got a better shot now than Wesley Clark, who — according to informed speculation, anyway — had been in talks to take Dean’s number-two slot. The benefit to signing Clark early on would have been clear: gaining the support of the growing “Draft Clark” movement. Now, however, with Clark as a declared candidate, the question becomes what can Clark bring to the ticket, compared with someone like Graham. He’s still got his supporters, but they’re fairly widespread, without the strong state-based support that Graham has. I’d suspect they’d end up supporting the eventually selected candidate, but wouldn’t be able to deliver any state in particular.

All idle speculation at this point. We’ll see what happens in due time.


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