Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Richardson pushes Western primary: may help Schweitzer

Kos has put up a post on New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson's push for a Western primary to force 2008 Democratic Presidential hopefuls to run seriously in the Western states. Jonathan Singer writes it up at Western Democrat. Original The Hill article is here, from which we glean:

Richardson has a strong ally on the Democrats’ Presidential Nomination and Scheduling Commission, Michael Stratton, who has announced a campaign to create an early eight-state Western primary in 2008 that would include Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming.
Of course, Richardson's doing this for his own personal gain -- he wants to run for President in 2008 and thinks a Western primary will help him. However, what's good for Richardson is in this case good for three other potential Dem candidates who are governors of those states: Dave Freudenthal of Wyoming, Janet Napolitano of Arizona, and of course Brian Schweitzer of Montana.

My take on a Western primary is this: Western voters aren't going to warm up to a Westerner simply because he or she is from the West -- we learned that in 1988, when Arizona Governor Bruce Babbitt failed to register in California, and in 1992, when Jerry Brown did poorly in the West. What Western voters are looking for, in my view, is someone who espouses the good ol' Western style we've been talking about for the past couple of days. If my thesis is accurate, Richardson may not be doing himself that much of a favor, as he's viewed to some degree as a Washington bureaucrat and wheeler-dealer who doesn't talk the talk of the West. Napolitano is better (she is, after all, my home-state governor), but I think the Anita Hill baggage (she was a lawyer for Hill and allegedly illegally coached a witness during a recess of the hearings) will finally stick on her up till now Teflon coating. Freudenthal I don't know enough about to be able to speak of him in detail, but he seems (from his assaults on the Endangered Species act and Montana water rights) to be so conservative as to be un-nominatable by the Dems.

Brian Schweitzer is unquestionably the most Western of the Western Democratic Governors. In my view, a Western Primary would help Schweitzer more than anyone else, including Richardson. Therefore, I wholeheartedly endorse the idea.


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