Richardson Backs Obama as Iowa Fallback

Richardson Backs Obama as Iowa Fallback Bill Richardson has joined Dennis Kucinich in directing his supporters to vote for Barack Obama in the second round if they do not achieve the 15 percent viability threshold.

Chase Martyn of the Iowa Independent has the story — and a rundown on Richardson’s rather complicated strategery:

Richardson, whose poll numbers in Iowa have hovered near 10% since June, may need a solid fourth-place finish in the caucuses to continue his campaign. And he is best served by directing support away from former Sen. John Edwards, who consistently polls between him and the two national front-runners, Obama and Sen. Hillary Clinton, in national and early state polls.

But Richardson’s modest gains from diverting second-choice support away from Edwards may be eclipsed by Obama’s potential success on caucus night, should everything go as planned. If Richardson’s field organization manages to direct a significant number of supporters to Obama, it could be enough to win him the Iowa Caucuses. And if Edwards loses a large block of second-round voters, a group he seems to be relying on to break in his direction, it could irreparably damage his campaign.

Richardson would prefer an Obama victory over Clinton because a Clinton victory could end the campaign before New Hampshire voters even head to the polls. And if Edwards’s numbers look weak, Richardson could head to New Hampshire as the best alternative to the top two contenders for the Democratic nomination.

Of course, since most of us have figured all along that Richardson was running for vice president, this may reflect his judgment that Obama, not Clinton or Edwards, will emerge as the nominee.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is a Security Studies professor at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Triumph says:

    Of course, since most of us have figured all along that Richardson was running for vice president, this may reflect his judgment that Obama, not Clinton or Edwards, will emerge as the nominee.

    It could also be a reverse racism thing, typical of liberals like the Al Sharpton/Jessie Jackson puppet, Obama. Being a Hispanic, Guillermo Richardson may feel more in common with B. Hussein than non-minority candidates.

  2. yetanotherjohn says:

    Or that Richardson knows that he has burned his Clinton bridges by daring to compete against her.

    I suspect that this is more the realization that if Clinton wins Iowa and New Hampshire, the rest of the primary season is history. Now how Richardson could come back if Obama wins those two is also a mystery.

  3. Tano says:

    Actually, one often chooses a VP from the opposing faction, as a unite-the-party move. If Obama wins, the expectation is that he would choose a white guy with inside the beltway cred, a Bayh, or Webb, probably not Richardson. But if Hillary wins, then Richardson might actually improve his chances of being selected by aligning with Obama now – he could be the minority candidate who is at least vaguely associated with the Obama side, and thus a unifying choice.