Bill Richardson Drops Out of Presidential Race
As widely anticipated, Bill Richardson is ending his quest for the presidency.
Gov. Bill Richardson of New Mexico is pulling out of the presidential race, after coming in fourth in both the New Hampshire primary and the Iowa caucuses. Mr. Richardson made the decision after returning to New Mexico yesterday and meeting with his top advisers. He is expected to make an announcement Thursday, according to sources with knowledge of the governor’s decision.
Mr. Richardson’s withdrawal removes a candidate who had a hard-edged message of immediate troop withdrawal from Iraq, but tempered it with humorous television advertisements that emphasized his wide-ranging credentials in a clever and effective way.
The Democrats with the most impressive résumés, Joe Biden, Chris Dodd, and now Richardson are gone. Left standing are two one-term senators and a senator in her second term who is best known for having been married to a two-term president.
Given Richardson’s virtually non-existent support base, it’s doubtful his withdrawal will have much impact. The NYT speculates:
As the lone Hispanic in the race, Mr. Richardson was expected to draw on support from the sizable Latino population in upcoming Nevada and California primaries. His withdrawal could see these voters swing to either Mr. Obama, who had a strong Hispanic following in Iowa, or to Mrs. Clinton, whose campaign is making an equally vigorous outreach effort.
There also had been a report, carried in the NewMexican.Com, which is based in Mr. Richardson’s home town of Santa Fe, that Mr. Richardson had considered remaining in the race at least through Feb. 5, in order to control the New Mexican Democratic delegation and deliver it to the candidate of his choice. While Mr. Richardson had hoped to do well in Western states, polls showed that he remained in the single-digits in that region, except for in New Mexico.
And, please, California votes on February 5th. A sizable number of people were going to waste their vote on Richardson rather than choosing between Clinton and Obama?
Mr. Richardson has also repeatedly denied that he was in the race to secure a vice-presidential bid or to get a major appointment should Democrats re-take the White House. Under New Mexico’s term-limits, he must leave office in 2010.
He was widely considered a solid choice for veep or Secretary of State before the campaign season started. If he does get such a nod, it will be because of his competence and likability, not political calculation. By running, he showed that he had no national political appeal to speak of.