Posted 12:50pm October 11
by Marcus Mrowka
U-WIRE Washington Bureau Chief
Florida Senator Bob Graham announced he would end his troubled campaign for the Presidency Monday on “Larry King Live”, making him the first among the 10 Democrats to drop out.
“I made the judgment I cannot be elected President of the United States,” Graham told King. “I am very proud of what we have been able to accomplish during this campaign and I am gratified by the number of people across the country who believed in us.”
Graham cited a late start after heart surgery and his obligations in the Senate as causes for his dismal campaign figures. According to a recent New York Times/CBS News Poll, only three percent of those survey indicated Graham was their choice to be the Democratic nominee.
Fundraising problems were also a problem for Graham. He reportedly raised under $2 million in the third quarter, compared to Howard Dean’s $12.5 million.
Graham, 66, is former chairman of the Senate intelligence committee and is serving his third term in the Senate which ends in January of 2005. He also served in the Florida legislature and two terms as Governor of Florida before his Senate bid in 1986. Graham has not yet made a decision on whether he will seek reelection for his Senate seat.
“I commend [Graham] for being a strong advocate for the Democratic Party not only as a presidential candidate, but also during his decades of public service to the people of Florida,” said Terry McAuliffe, Democratic National Committee Chairman, in a recent press release on Graham’s decision.
“I will miss seeing Bob Graham on the campaign trail,” said Howard Dean, former Governor of Vermont and Democratic presidential contender. “He was an honorable opponent who treated his fellow aspirants for the Democratic nomination with respect.”
Graham left the possibility of accepting the party’s vice presidency open. Many political analysts have said that the Graham campaign had been eyeing the vice-presidency all along.
“I am prepared to do whatever I can to contribute to a Democratic victory next November and the leading of this nation to a new and better track,” Graham said.
“I think the chance of Graham being selected for the vice-presidential spot is less likely now than before he ran,” said Jon Gould, Assistant Director of the Administration of Justice at George Mason University. “Things like the coverage of his daily notebook exposed his quirkiness and the fact that he couldn’t get much support in the primary could make people see him as a less viable candidate.”
The remaining nine Democrats will take part in a debate Thursday on CNN.