Skip to comments.100 lawmakers give '08 endorsements
Posted on 02/13/2007 8:27:51 AM PST by Antoninus
Take note, presidential prognosticators: Former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani (R) may have earned a rousing reception at the California GOP convention last weekend, but Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) has more public supporters in Congress.
And while Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) plans to refrain from an endorsement until her party chooses a nominee, one Democratic candidate quietly has lined up not one but two backers in the House leadership - Sen. Chris Dodd (Conn.).
The most wide-open presidential rivalry in modern times is sparking fierce competition for congressional backing, with nearly 100 lawmakers declaring their 2008 allegiances before the first debate begins. Though a win in the unofficial Capitol primary builds undeniable momentum for candidates, support from members of Congress may be more of a boon to those aiming for the White House from the back of the pack.
Months before the 2000 Iowa caucus, Vice President Al Gore found himself keeping one eye on the general election and the other on former Sen. Bill Bradley (N.J.) when the Democratic dark horse won the endorsements of then-Sen. Bob Kerrey (D-Neb.) and the late former Sens. Paul Wellstone (D-Minn.) and Daniel Patrick Moynihan (D-N.Y.). In that year's Republican race, then-Texas Gov. George W. Bush picked up early fiscal-conservative bona fides from former House budget chief John Kasich (R-Ohio) that came in handy later in the cycle.
Whether the congressional support will prove a boon for Dodd, who claims to have secured backing from House Democratic Caucus Vice-Chairman John Larson (Conn.) and assistant to the Speaker Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-Calif.), remains to be seen. Similarly, Hunter's six member endorsements are as much a testament to his 14 terms and Armed Services Committee chairmanship as they are to his presidential viability.
"I'd say those [lawmakers] with safe seats, those with significant stature and networks, will be valuable" to 2008 hopefuls whose camps they join, the executive director of the Center for Responsive Politics, Sheila Krumholz, said. "Those who are working on their own reelection will be valuable - only less so."
The necessity of compiling extensive endorsements in Congress can depend on how candidates choose to define themselves to voters. While the imprimatur of local officials can jumpstart a campaign in early-primary states, Giuliani has jolted the GOP race with the force of national name-recognition won during New York's recovery from the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Other candidates challenging the Beltway establishment, such as former Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.) and former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack (D), have less need to join the insider's race for congressional boosters.
The Internet's newly prime position in campaign strategy and outreach also adds a new dimension to the traditional pursuit of earned media before nominees are chosen. Instead of relying on lawmaker appearances to draw crowds, candidates can now blog on their websites and post online videos.
"The support Governor Romney has received is indicative of just how well our organizing at the grassroots level is going, and it's also a measure of just how well his message is resonating with folks across the entire spectrum of the Republican Party," a Romney spokesman, Kevin Madden, told The Hill.
Across the aisle, Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) expressed a similar interest in cultivating grassroots support: "What we have to do is create a vehicle where people feel like they are part of the campaign, that they're not just being sold politics the way you sell soap," he told Iowans at a Sunday house party to mark his official entrance in the race.
Obama currently trails Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) in the Democratic hunt for congressional backers, which so far has attracted less attention than the GOP frontrunners' courtship of Republican members. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) delivered a shot across Romney's bow yesterday, announcing the support of five well-connected Republican officials in the former governor's home state of Massachusetts.
Just as presidential hopefuls chase congressional supporters, Krumholz observed that lawmakers with ambitions outside the Capitol may seek out the candidate most likely to repay their gesture after getting elected.
"It's a tit-for-tat game they play," she said. "Yes, [White House rivals] are looking for [members'] endorsements, and then members of Congress will be looking to collect chits for themselves."
Missouri Republican Sen. John Ashcroft endorsed Bush in 2000 after abandoning his own briefly held presidential hopes, only to become attorney general in the following year's administration. After winning the Democratic nomination in 2004, Sen. John Kerry (Mass.) openly vetted friend and endorser Sen. Joseph Biden (D-Del.) for a future secretary of state position.
Endorsement counts during the 2004 race, however, illustrate the limits of strong support inside the Capitol. Heading into the 2004 Iowa caucus, former Rep. Richard Gephardt (D-Mo.) boasted greater lawmaker support than both Kerry and then-frontrunner Gov. Howard Dean (Vt.), reflecting his status as the party's longtime House leader. Both Pelosi and current House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.) endorsed Gephardt, in contrast to their neutrality during this cycle - but Gephardt ultimately dropped out after a fourth-place finish in the Iowa caucus.
An X-factor in the congressional endorsement battle is the plethora of party caucuses. Congressional Black Caucus members are already grappling with the difficult choice between Obama and Clinton, whose husband was affectionately dubbed "the first black president" for his appeal in the African-American community, but two other influential caucuses remain up for grabs.
The Congressional Progressive Caucus, its clout growing along with members' criticism of White House Iraq policy, has not yet endorsed a candidate and has no plans to do so at this time. The Republican Main Street Partnership, headed by former representative and early primary kingmaker Charles Bass (R-N.H.), is similarly undecided about whether to endorse a candidate before the nominations are secured.
Main Street spokesman Chris Barron observed that two of the three leading GOP contenders, McCain and Romney, have served or currently serve as members of the partnership, and that Giuliani's centrist credentials place him in line with the group's ideals.
This is the same House that dithered and lost Rome?
But ... but ... but ... the Rudy boosters told me no one would support Hunter because he has no chance of winning! What gives?
Funny, I don't recall you posting the same sentiments on the thread yesterday where Rudy got the backing of two Congresscritters. Rather selective indignation if you ask me.
Actually that was the 'Senate' and they 'lost Rome' in 410 AD to Alaric, King of the Visigoths.
(Actually Rome was 'lost' a few times. But '410' is the most famous)
It won't matter. Hunter will appeal to a large swath of the GOP with or without Tancredo's endorsement. That said, when tancredo drops out, he will likely support Hunter.
A little less Google searching and a stress pill would do you wonders.
I like Tancredo but Hunter has a much better chance.
It's beginning to look that way. I wish guys like Brownback and Tancredo would just ditch the presidential talk and back Hunter.
You're right. We only need one conservative candidate. The other guys could gain stature with the conservatives by putting principle over ambition at this point. While I'd vote for Newt, his baggage would probably keep him from winning in the general election. Newt should make his decision now and support someone else if he's not running.
Why should I? At least those Congresslosers have sense enough to recognize their own failure and are reaching out for some real leadership
(Rangers Lead The Way!)
Hunter is another FR constructed white knight fantasy in the George Allen crash and burn mold.
He's as attractive as a old baseball glove with the personality of Brother Theodore.
He dead Jim.
Either that or they're just willing to be sellouts. Rudy? Leadership? The guy who pushed a corrupt business crony to be head of DHS is a LEADER?
The guy who sited the NYC emergency command center in the WTC despite a previous attack and despite serious misgivings from those in the know is a LEADER?
Rudy is another Rockefeller Republican black knight ("It's just a flesh wound") who thinks he's winning with both arms hacked off and who seeks to return the GOP to the glory days of 1992.
Actually I only needed Google for the correct spelling of "Alaric". And I don't take my 'stress pill' until 5:00 pm (CST). Unless you mean my Blood Pressure pill which is at 5:00 am (or there abouts).
THose of us who lived in NYC during his administration actually experienced the fruits of his leadership. It was felt at street level and was undeniable.
Can't HEAR you!!! LOL
It's "He's dead Jim", and I agree 100 percent, Rudy is dead to all but the Liberals pretending to be Republicans.And unlike your god Rudy, the person whom you quoted also served honorably in the Military(no deferment needed).
Duncan Hunter is the "Patriot with the big (R)"
Thanks for the ping.......
Those of us who do not live in NYC look at Rudy's choice of Kerik to be head of Homeland Security and realize the guy ain't ready for prime time on a national level. His candidacy is all about the entrenched interests in the GOP burrowing in even deeper.
I don't live in NY and neither do people in the fly over states. Him looking real purty in a dress will earn him no points outside NY.
Okay, ya got me :-)
However, the subject of the "Fall of Rome" gets complicate as most forget Rome was split into Two Empires with Two Emperors and the 'Eastern Roman Empire' continued on as the Byzantine Empire and held on until Constantinople was lost in 1453. (Basically I had no Idea of where zarf was going with the 'Lost Rome' reference. So for fun I threw out the 410 sacking.)
Thread hijack -- OVER. Let's get back to Duncan. The ONLY Conservative candidate ;-)
Was that Rudy leading the fruits in the gay pride parades?
No gay pride parades in fly over country?
Ah, that's right I forgot! It's all church, buttermilk and happy marriages!
This is a step in the right direction! I can respect why some New Yorkers love Rudy - but what's good for NY, isn't necessarily what's good for the rest of the country. Maybe Rudy would be a good Attorney General?
GO DUNCAN HUNTER!!!
Bachmann is definitely a hot endorsement for any candidate
We've got Momentum.
One thing I have noticed is that the RINO wing of the party has crossed the line from ignoring its base to actively trying to discard us. Otherwise, why all the acrimony over some candidate who supposedly has no chance?
The southern decadence wanted to hold their gay pride parade in Lafayette when Katrina ran them out of NO either the Mayor or the police chief told them...'we don't do that stuff here'.
After Hurricane Katrina, Durel refused to issue a parade permit for "Southern Decadence," a group of gay activists who had earlier organized an annual gathering planned for New Orleans. "I don't consider anything that's got the word 'decadence' in it to be normalcy," Durel told The Lafayette Daily Advertiser, in explaining why he rejected "Decadence's" request. "If they want to have some semblance of normalcy, I would expect them to respect the normalcy of the community of Lafayette, whatever the hell that means" he added.
 Durel will run again in 2007
Ya gotta love that part in bold. So, we don't cotton to gay pride parades and don't want them shoved in the faces of our children.
I look at it this way. Rudy has the maximum amount of momentum he is going to get right now. The media is adoring - they have pushed him as the front runner, practically non-stop. His biggest advantage is his name recognition & the way he handled himself after 9/11. Neither is enough for me to trust him to handle the duties of Commander in Chief.
Once the public starts hearing about the liberal side of Rudy, most Republicans are going to experience some degree of dissatisfaction about having to hold their nose, once again to vote. They are going to wish they had a real conservative, along the lines of Ronald Reagan to support.
With enthusiastic supporters that wholeheartedly believe in their candidate - Duncan Hunter's name will start to filter out there to the masses of the people. Hunter's momentum will start to grow.
Rudy, like a racehorse that bolts out of the gate 1st, giving it everything he's got - will start to slow down during a long race. His momentum will start falling.
GO DUNCAN HUNTER!!!
"He dead Jim."
Then so is the republican party.
Hunter is on CSPAN right now.
Go Duncan ~ you da man!!
I agree, Antonius. Given the policy positions that many of these same posters have taken on FR, it's clear that their support for the mayor doesn't come from a belief that he's the best candidate for Republicans, but rather out of a desire to ensure that the two largest parties don't offer the electorate the choice of a social conservative.
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