AP is reporting that Bill Richardson is planning to drop out of the race for the Democratic nomination. AP reports this based upon information from two people close to his campaign who have spoken on a condition of anonymity. They say that Richardson will be making the announcement on Thursday.
I was interested in Richardson early and there appeared to be a possibility of Richardson at very least challenging Edwards for third place last summer. Richardson’s campaign never took off, partially due to a number of minor gaffes which had a cumulative effect of preventing Richardson from looking like a serious candidate. By the end of 2007 I was both questioning whether Richardson would make a good candidate, and had given up any hope that he could seriously challenge for the nomination. The results in Iowa and New Hampshire also demonstrated that few held out much hope for him. If this report is true, I suspect it means that he does not expect to do well in Nevada.
I wonder if Richardson made a mistake trying to differentiate himself based upon taking the most aggressive stance with regards to leaving Iraq quickly among the Democratic candidates. Richardson just never fit the role as “the” peace candidate or the candidate from the left.Richardson has received the support of many independents, as well as libertarian-leaning Democratic voters. While many of his positions were based more upon pragmatism than libertarian principles, some libertarians saw Richardson as a candidate who was friendlier to business and less supportive of big government than his rivals. In failing to stress such issues or show a real reason to support him, Richardson’s support remained minimal. While positioning himself in such a manner might have helped in the general election, it is also questionable if such positions would have been successful in the Democratic primaries.
The rise of Barack Obama further prevented Richardson from being able to receive a significant amount of support from independents. Running on his resume was also not a very successful strategy in a year in which voters desired change or were interested in the stars, leaving the three most experienced candidates in the second tier far behind the less experienced top tier candidates.
Richardson’s campaign is denying the report but is speaking of suspending the campaign and stopping active campaigning while preparing for the legislative session in New Mexico. Regardless of whether he suspends or ends the campaign, there is little doubt that Richardson will not have any significant impact on the race.
Update: The New York Times reports Richardson is out