Sunday, January 08, 2006

Feingold - Warner - Clinton - The Political Side

Back in November I wrote Feingold was destined to become the darling of the Left unless Al Gore entered the race. The political punditry is also seeing this trend. Ronald Brownstein has an LA Times article from the day after Christmas talking about essentially a three-way race between Clinton, Feingold and Warner. Brownstein on Warner:

In the center, this year's winner was outgoing Virginia Gov. Mark R. Warner. As Warner begins traveling the country, he is laying claim to a clear brand: the red state savior. Warner presents himself as the candidate whose message of fiscal discipline and social moderation can win back some of the culturally conservative states where Bush romped twice.

In November, Warner received a powerful boost for that case. His popularity helped Lt. Gov. Timothy M. Kaine capture the Virginia governorship, even though Kaine (unlike Warner) opposed the death penalty. Kaine's strongest argument was that he would continue Warner's direction. And when Kaine won, it burnished Warner's reputation as the Democrat who had cracked the red state code.

"His ability to transfer his own popularity to elect an anti-death-penalty successor speaks volumes about his ability to go beyond the base," said former South Carolina Democratic Party Chairman Dick Harpootlian. Harpootlian was so impressed with Warner at a recent South Carolina speech that he signed up to support the governor if he runs.

On both sides, the nomination is won most often by the candidate with the broadest appeal across the party. So candidates, in defining themselves, must always take care not to create a ceiling on their support (that seems especially a risk for Feingold with his dovish trajectory). Yet in a race with a potential front-runner as formidable as Hillary Rodham Clinton, the initial challenge is building a solid floor to stand on. More than any of Clinton's other potential rivals, Feingold and Warner laid down the first planks in 2005. Read more:

The AP quotes Joe Trippi in an article about Feingold where he mentions Mark Warner as a top rival.

Joe Trippi, who ran Democrat Howard Dean's anti-war presidential candidacy in 2004, said Feingold has helped to separate himself from other potential rivals.

"He and Mark Warner are the only two people who have cut a more stark profile that people are paying attention to - Feingold on the left and Warner in the middle," Trippi said, referring to the Virginia governor. Read more.

The Washington Times reports Warner is returning to New Hampshire to speak at the annual 100 Club dinner. Read more. The Daily Press also reports on Warner's upcoming trip to New Hampshire. Read more.


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