Bill Richardson Drops Out of Presidential Race

As widely anticipated, Bill Richardson is ending his quest for the presidency.

Bill Richardson Drops Out of Presidential Race Photo Nathaniel Brooks for The New York Times 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.

Iowa is 3.8 percent Latino; he got 2.1 percent of the vote. How strong could his support have been?

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.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Al Bullock says:

    The media continually decries the use of racist comments but perpetuates the use of racist tags such as Hispanic. Richardson was born in this county and speaks English. He is an American. I don’t think of myself as Dutch/English. I am an American and very damn proud of it.

    In my twenty years in the Army, I never thought of the troops as hispanic or foreigners. They looked like me, spoke like me and dressed like me. They were no different.

  2. yetanotherjohn says:

    I predict no major appointment if Hillary wins given some of the comments he made about her. The Clintons have long knives and even longer memories.

  3. MOG says:

    It couldn’t have helped that after the New Hampshire Primaries, as C-SPAN was airing Richardson’s speech to his supporters, C-SPAN continually burned in Richarson’s title on the bottom of the screen under the video which read:

    Gov. Bill Richardson
    D – Mexico

    Since when do we allow non-citizens to run for the office of the President in this country?
    Hell, if even C-Span can’t get it right, how can you expect the voters.

  4. Bill Richardson was in the presidential race? Who knew?

  5. Tlaloc says:

    Best political commercials. Apparently that’s not enough to secure the presidency. Shame.

  6. Mark Jaquith says:

    Poor Bill. He has an impressive resume, and he seems like a straight shooter. It must be depressing for him to have to bow out in deference to a bunch of “newbies” with the right connections or the right demographic makeup or the right etherial message of “change.” Style over substance.

  7. Kent says:

    If he does get such a nod, it will be because of his competence and likability, not political calculation.

    His what?

    Am I the only New Mexican here?

  8. I guess his stroll into UFO paranoia didn’t garner as many votes as he had hoped.