(Corning, New York) – I am on the road this weekend keeping an eye on politics in New York State. It occurs to me that this state may produce two presidential candidates in 2016 – Hillary Clinton and Andrew Cuomo. This week we look at them and other possible candidates on the Democratic side.
"New York, New York" - Yes, there could be double-trouble form the Empire State. The other day I saw my first "Hillary 2016" bumper sticker as I drove up I-95. Many people assume she's a shoo-in for the nomination and the White House. Presuming that outcome could be a terrible mistake. At, 55, Andrew Cuomo has been, U.S. Secretary of Housing, New York Attorney General and now Governor. He also has a famous last name, was even married to a Kennedy for 13 years, and has star power. He's likely viable for the next four election cycles.
"Great Expectations" – Okay, Hillary Clinton is the frontrunner, but that's no guarantee. In December of 2007, just weeks before the Iowa Caucuses and New Hampshire primary, Hillary Clinton was the Democratic frontrunner and Rudy Giuliani was the Republican frontrunner, both by substantial margins. Neither made it to the finish line. So, enjoy today's polls, but take them with a grain of salt.
"Don't Pass Bayh"- Former Indiana Governor and U.S. Senator Evan Bayh remains a real sleeper of a candidate. Bayh was a moderate and never shied away from supporting more conservative GOP items. In short, he can work with the other side of the aisle, which may serve him well if we see another voter backlash against politics as usual and gridlock in Washington. Bayh is 57 and also comes with a famous last name. While he has spoken publicly with disdain for partisan politics and excessive fundraising, don't count him out if liberals in the party are divided. He could be, "Plan B."
"No, Not John! The Other Warner!"- When you say the name Warner in discussing Virginia politics, most people assume you are talking about former Senator and Navy Secretary John Warner. But, there is another one. Current Senator Mark Warner (D-VA) is also a former Governor and a self-made millionaire. At 58, Warner gave the Keynote Address at the 2008 Democratic National Convention which was very well received. Perhaps most important, he hails from what is now a "must win" swing state. Democrats carried Virginia in 2008 and 2012, after the Republicans won the state in every presidential race since 1964. It's no longer a guaranteed red state and Warner on the 2016 ticket – even as VP - is a real possibility. Keep an eye on him.
"Senor Richardson" – Like Hillary Clinton, Bill Richardson is 65 and may take one last shot at the White House. Richardson has been a Congressman, a Governor, U.N. Ambassador and Secretary of Energy. It's been said that former President George H.W. Bush had the longest resume in Washington. Well, Bill Richardson probably lands in second place. His mom was Latina and his dad was half-Mexican, half-Anglo. His appeal to the growing Hispanic voting block could be a huge asset. On the other hand, his reputation as a "loose cannon" on foreign policy and self-aggrandizing overseas missions has brought him much criticism. But, as a party elder, he could also fill the VP slot much like party statesman Dick Cheney and Joe Biden did.
"Long Shots" – Lots of other names get tossed out – from the possible, Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley; to the completely improbable Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts (yes there are already Warren for President bumper stickers on cars I see on I-95). But the most intriguing long shot is former Democratic Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer. He is a glib, colorful and sometimes provocative public speaker. Think of a Democratic Chris Christie. Like Christie, Schweitzer is fun to cover, and is always a quotable headline maker, which the press loves. He's thinking of running for U.S. Senate, so even if he passes on the White House, we could be hearing lots from him.
Is there anyone you'd like to see on my list? Some think it's time for new faces in both parties. In an upcoming blog, I will do a similar analysis of potential Republican presidential candidate.