2008 Presidential Candidates: The Florida Connection
Lately, a number of political operatives with Florida ties have been scooped up would-be presidetial contenders and this seems as good an excuse as any to discuss the 2008 primaries and caucuses.
Most of the stories have been on the GOP side, from Senator John McCain and former Massachussetts Gov. Mitt Romney courting Jeb Bush, to Gov. Charlie Crist attending a McCain reception in Miami Lakes.
However, the biggest news is Luis Navarro leaving his position as executive director of the Florida Democratic Party to manage the fledgling presidential campaign of Delaware Senator Joseph Biden (see photo). I have had some dealings with Biden in the past and he is an impressive candidate, but he is not high on anyone's handicapping list.
Biden ran for president once before - in 1988. He will be a strong fundraiser at least initially. The reason why? Check your credit card bill. The address will almost invariably say "Wilmington, DE." That's right. For various tax reasons (Delaware is a sort of mini tax haven), many financial institutions are actually incorporated in Delaware - and Biden will be able to tap that for his fundraising base. He will also be able to use his bully pulpit as chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to burnish his credentials on the Iraq war debacle.
Despite these advantages, he lacks many of the advantages of some of the other candidates. His fundraising base isn't as broad as some other candidates and his star power is nowhere near candidates like Senators Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. He also doesn't have strong connections to any of the early test states like New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson (whose latino heritage and proximity to Nevada will serve him well in that state's caucus and who, my sources tell me, will announce before the end of January) or former Senator John Edwards (who was born in South Carolina).
In other news, Romney hired Mandy Fletcher, who worked for both Bush brothers and also consulted for Bush's Foundation for Florida's Future.