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The History of the 2008 Presidential Election Campaign
2008 Presidential







History Guy Politics Weblog--NEW

In 2008 the presidential nominations of both major parties are wide open.

For the first time since 1952 a sitting president or vice-president will NOT be a candidate for nomination for either the Republican or Democratic party. With Vice-President Cheney (so far) declining to run for the Republican nomination, it is an election without an obvious front-runner from either side. Several well-known politicians are already declaring themselves candidates for their parties' nominations. This page will provide an updated listing of potential candidates. Even though the election is not until November 2008, campaigns are already underway, albeit largely unnoticed by the public at this point, raising money and trying to convince Party leaders and grass-roots activists to take sides in choosing the new party nominees.

Official Candidates for the Republican Party Presidential Nomination:


Senator Sam Brownback (R-Kansas)--On January 20, 2007 Senator Brownback officially announced his candidacy.

1995-1996: Congressman from Kansas

1996-Present: U.S. Senator from Kansas

Analysis-- A strong social conservative, Brownback may be a player in the early primaries and caucuses.


Former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani (R-New York)--On November 13, 2006, he announced that he was forming an exploratory committee. On February 5, 2007, Giuliani filed paperwork with the Federal Election Commmision declaring his candidacy for the Republican nomination for President.

1994-2001: Mayor of New York City

Analysis-- After 9/11, Giuliani became known as "America's Mayor," due to his cool leadership in a crisis situation. Well-regarded by many Americans, he has very strong name-recognition. He is fairly liberal on social issues, as are most locally-electable East Coast Republicans. This would serve him well in a national election, but could prove deadly in primaries and caucuses heavily attended by more conservative Republicans. If he wins the nomination, he would be a strong contender against any of the current Democrats in the race.


Duncan Hunter (R-California)

1981-Present: Congressman from California

Analysis-- Though Duncan is not well known, his strong conservative credentials could help him raise money and win votes in the primaries and caucuses.

Former Governor Mitt Romney (R-Massachusetts)-- Formed his exploratory committee on the same day he left the Governor's office: January 3, 2007. Declared his official candidacy on February 13, 2007.

2003-2007: Governor of Massachusetts

Analysis--His positives are that he has executive experience, and that he is a proven winner in a fairly liberal state. His negatives include the fact that he can win in a liberal state. Some of his past positions on social issues could cause him trouble with conservative Republican voters. His membership in the LDS Church could also cause him to lose votes to those who do not trust or understand Mormonism.



Unofficial Republican Candidates with Exploratory Committees

Jim Gilmore (R-Former Governor, Virginia)--Gilmore announced on December 20, 2006, that he would launch his exploratory committee on January 2, 2007.

1998-2002: Governor of Virginia

Analysis-- Virtually unknown outside of Virginia.

Governor Mike Huckabee (R-Arkansas)--Formed his presidential exploratory committee on January 29, 2007.

1993-1996: Lieutenant Governor of Arkansas

1996-2007: Governor of Arkansas

Analysis-- Being a Southerner gives Huckabee an automatic advantage, as does his experience as a governor. On the down side, he has little national name recognition, but Governor Bill Clinton (another Arkansas governor) had the same problem, and won it all.


Senator John McCain (R-Arizona)--On November 15th, 2006, McCain announced the intent to form an exploratory committee.

1987-Present: U.S. Senator from Arizona.

2000: Unsuccessful candidate for the Republican Presidential nomination, losing to George W. Bush.

Analysis-- McCain has very strong name recognition, and is well-respected due to his military career, POW status during the Vietnam War, and his long Senate career. He also leads all other Republicans in fundraising. His negatives include the "maverick" label he has earned among Republicans in the Senate, which may cause him trouble among the more partisan primary and caucus voters.


Congressman Ron Paul (R-Texas) --Formed his exploratory committee on January 11, 2007.

1976–1977; 1979–1985; 1997–Present: Congressman from Texas

1988: Libertarian Party candidate in the 1988 Presidential Election. Paul received 431,750 votes, or 0.47% of the popular vote, putting him in third place behind George H. W. Bush and Michael Dukakis.

Analysis--Paul will appeal to libertarian conservatives (who ARE strong in New Hampshire, an important early primary state), but to the party faithful, his turn as a Third-Party candidate makes him a pariah.



Congressman Tom Tancredo (R-Colorado)--Formed his exploratory committee on January 16, 2007 .

1999-Present: Congressman from Colorado

Analysis--Tancredo recently gained attention with his anti-immigrant stance. Not well known beyond that issue.


Former Governor Tommy Thompson (R-Wisconsin), Announced that he had formed an exploratory committee December 15th 2006.

1987-2001: Governor of Wisconsin

2001-2005: Secretary of Health and Human Services in the George W. Bush Administration

Analysis--While his state-level executive experience is a positive, as is his stint in D.C., he will have a tough time against better known candidates like McCain and Giuliani.

Copyright 1998-2007 Roger A. Lee and History Guy Media; Last Modified: 02.24.07

"The History Guy" is a Registered Trademark.

Official Candidates for the Democratic Party Presidential Nomination:

Senator Joe Biden (D-Delaware)--On January 7, 2007 Senator Biden was asked by Tim Russert on Meet the Press , "Are you running for President?" Biden replied, "I am running for President."

U.S. Senator from Delaware: 1973-Present

Analysis--Biden is a veteran Senator from a small East Coast state who happens to speak his mind. Unfortunately, he tends to talk himself into trouble, as evidenced by the plagiarism charge that sunk his 1988 presidential campaign, his recent comment about convenience stores and Indian employees, and his curious references to Barack Obama as "clean."


Senator Chris Dodd (D-Connecitcut)--On Jan. 11, 2007, Dodd announced his Presidential candidacy on the "Don Imus in the Morning" radio show.

U.S. Senator from Connecticut: 1981-Present

U.S. Representative from the Connecticut's 2nd congressional district: 1975-1981

Analysis--Dodd is a veteran Senator from a small New England state. While political wonks know his name, it must be remembered that New England liberals do not tend to do well in election campaigns for President (think of Dukakis, Kerry, and Ted Kennedy for starters).



Former U.S. Senator John Edwards (D-North Carolina), On December 26, 2006, Edwards announced his candidacy.

U.S. Senator from North Carolina: 1999-2005

Analysis--Edwards ran for the Democratic nomination in 2004, and ended up becaming John Kerry's running mate. The abject failure of the Kerry campaign is not Edwards' fault; in fact, he wanted to take a more offensive posture against the campaign attacks launched by the Bush camp. He possesses charisma, intelligence, and a lawyer's' sharp rhetorical skills. Combined with his populist political stances, Edwards could be a formidable campaigner.


Former Senator Mike Gravel (D-Alaska) --Former Senator Gravel filed with the FEC in April according to various news sources. The FEC's site has listed his reports since July.

U.S. Senator from Alaska: 1969–1981

Alaska State Representative: 1962-1966 (Speaker of the Alaska State House: 1965-1966)

Analysis--Out of politics for over thirty years, even many Alaskans don't know him. His candidacy is a mystery, and a waste of time.


Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio)-- On December 12, 2006, Kucinich announced his candidacy at an event at Cleveland's City Hall.

U.S. Representative from Ohio's 10th congressional district: 1997-Present

Mayor of Cleveland: 1978-1979

Analysis--Kucinich is by far the most progressive (liberal) candidate, and he has no pretensions of appealing to more conservative voters. This trait makes him free to truly speak his mind, which may make him a philosophical favorite of many Democratic primary and caucus voters, but his progressive passion also makes it almost impossible for him to win the general election against any Republican presidential candidate who is breathing without a respirator and can speak a language remotely similar to English.


Senator Barack Obama (D-Illinois)--On January 16, Obama announced on his web site that he would file papers to create an exploratory committee that day, with a final decision to come February 10. True to his word, Obama announced his candidacy on Saturday, Feb. 10, in Springfield, Illinois.

U.S. Senator from Illinois: 2005-Present

Illinois State Senate: 1997-2004

Analysis--Obama exploded onto the national political scene in 2004 with his easy win over Alan Keyes for the Illinois Senate seat and his address at the Democratic convention. He has name recognition and charisma, but he faces some real questions about his experience and also about his standing with African-American voters, many of whom apparently see his background (he is the son of an immigrant Kenyan father and a white mother) and question his ability to relate to the lives of everyday blacks.


Governor Tom Vilsack (D-Iowa)-- On November 9, 2006,Vilsack became the first announced candidate when he declared that he would be filing papers with the Federal Elections Commission (FEC) to run for the Presidency. On February 23, 2007, Vilsack became the first candidate to drop out of the race.

Governor of Iowa: 1999–2007

Analysis--Vilsack has an obvious advantage going into the Iowa caucuses, but is not well known outside of the midwest.


Unofficial Democratic Candidates with Exploratory Committees


Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-New York)--Already has eight years experience in the White House. Biggest possible advantage, besides name recognition, is the fact that husband Bill would likely be the true campaign manager behind the scenes.

U.S. Senator from New York: 2001-Present

Analysis--Clinton is the early front-runner, and her biggest asset, besides the large amounts of money she is raising, is the fact that Democrats still love her husband, who will be instrumental in shaping her campaign. Negatives include the fact that both she and her husband are lighting rods for many Republicans who would turn out in large numbers to vote against her. In a similar vein, most polls show that very few people have not made up their minds about Hillary Clinton. People either love her, or they hate her. Not much wiggle room to sway voters' opinions.


Governor Bill Richardson (D-New Mexico)-- December 7, 2006 Richardson said "I am running" during his response to a question about the 2008 presidential election on Fox News. Governor Richardson later took back the decision, saying he would make an official decision by January. A Draft Richardson movement is now active. He has formed an exploratory committee

Governor of New Mexico: 2003-Present

United States Secretary of Energy: 1998-2001

United States Ambassador to the United Nations: 1997-1998

U.S. Representative from the New Mexico's 3rd congressional district: 1983-1997

Analysis--In many ways, Governor Richardson is the most experienced Democrat in the race, with a political career encompassing the legislative branch (Congress), the Federal-level executive branch (Cabinet Secretary), State-level executive branch (Governor), and foreign policy (UN Ambassador). His Hispanic background could help him in the southwestern states. His only real negative is that he is from a relatively small state in the West, a region which has only placed two men in the White House, Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan, both from populous California.