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Monday, September 08, 2003


Edwards won't seek re-election

posted by Aziz P. at Monday, September 08, 2003 permalink View blog reactions
Edwards steps up to the plate:

John Edwards said he'll stick to one term in the U.S. Senate, convinced his presidential campaign is going well enough to bow out of the 2004 race for his seat.
"I will not seek re-election to the United States Senate, in order to devote all of my energy to running for president," Edwards wrote to North Carolina Democratic Party chairwoman Barbara Allen.
A timely decision became critical as U.S. Rep. Richard Burr (news, bio, voting record), R-N.C., announced he would seek the GOP nomination for the Senate and began campaigning, while potential Democratic candidates cooled their heels in deference to Edwards.
Edwards has no plans to step down from his Senate seat before his term ends in January 2005, Palmieri said, even if he wins the party nomination. Edwards plans a formal campaign announcement Sept. 16 in Robbins, where he spent his teenage years.

Note that unlike Dean, Edwards still has his day job, and retains his Senate seat. He just won't run for re-election. I think that this is an honorable move. But what's more important is that it cements Edwards as the Other Candidate - he's now the only one of the main challengers to Dean that has a real stake in winning.

Lieberman, Kerry, and Gephardt all want it both ways - they want to run for President, but don't want to risk teh safety of their seats in case of failure. That makes them cautious, keeps them from taking risks, and doesn't really give them the same level of drive that someone like Edwards or Dean would have, given that if the latter two lose, they are completely out of a job. And if you want to be President, you really need to want it.

At this point, I'm ready to make another one of my patented Aziz Wild-Ass Predictions (AWAP). Edwards and Dean will be the only candidates for the nomination, and the rest will drop out 1 month after South Carolina.

Lieberman is tanking - the base hates him, and his "Dean depression" remark was the worst-miscalculated Sister Souljah ever. Is there a single poll that shows him with a positive trend?

Kerry is fizzling out. His SC-carrier speech was about as symbolic as Bush's. And the campaign was ridiculed in Boston media for their inflated crowd estimates at his recent Fanueil Hall kickoff in Boston. Kerry still acts like he is the front-runner, expecting crowds to simply rally to his banner, desperately trying to ignore Dean away.

And Gephardt is strong in Iowa, but so is Dean. And given Dean's recent success with Labor, there simply isn't any certainty for the candidate. Watch for his poll numbers to be wea everywhere else.

The bottom line is that only Edwards has shown the real drive necessary to keep up with Dean. He's a worthy opponent and might even be deserving of a backbone award for his decision to commit himself to this race. And his decision really puts the other campaigns into perspective.

UPDATE: my mistake, Gephardt has also announced he won't seek re-election.


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About Nation-Building

Nation-Building was founded by Aziz Poonawalla in August 2002 under the name Dean Nation. Dean Nation was the very first weblog devoted to a presidential candidate, Howard Dean, and became the vanguard of the Dean netroot phenomenon, raising over $40,000 for the Dean campaign, pioneering the use of Meetup, and enjoying the attention of the campaign itself, with Joe Trippi a regular reader (and sometime commentor). Howard Dean himself even left a comment once. Dean Nation was a group weblog effort and counts among its alumni many of the progressive blogsphere's leading talent including Jerome Armstrong, Matthew Yglesias, and Ezra Klein. After the election in 2004, the blog refocused onto the theme of "purple politics", formally changing its name to Nation-Building in June 2006. The primary focus of the blog is on articulating purple-state policy at home and pragmatic liberal interventionism abroad.