Friday, November 4, 2011

Love's Gonna Get 'Cha

As an aside, how many candidates have dropped out because of scandal? Any kind of scandal? I mean, if you watch The West Wing or other such things you would think it happens a few times per cycle just at the presidential level, but I'm remembering Gary Hart and Joe Biden, both in 1988, and...who else?

And getting back to the earlier post, neither was, strictly speaking, about anyone uncovering something from the past. Even at other levels, I'm not thinking of a whole lot of campaigns that end because of a someone uncovering something from the past. There's the Jack Ryan/Jeri Ryan thing from 2004 (but note: it was Ryan's first campaign for public office, so no old staff elsewhere). Granted, there are embarrassing episodes from the past that come to light but don't knock a candidate out, such as Bill Clinton's draft record or George W. Bush's drunk driving, so it's not as if it never happens, but again it may be that these things just don't happen nearly as often as we think they do.


  1. By your definition of "running," surely Anthony Weiner was already in the process of running for mayor of New York, right?

  2. Good call! I hadn't thought of that. I was going to exempt people more or less automatically running for reelection, but you're right about Weiner.

  3. Would Ensign and Sanford's scandals count, in that they prevented either from running for president in 2012?

  4. What about John Edwards? IIRC his candidacy for 2008 was over by the time his scandal broke, but he had certainly not yet gone away or disappeared yet at that point. He still had a political career ahead of him. How would you account for his behavior before and after the sh*t hit the fan? Was he running for 2012? Or VP? Does he count at all?

  5. That Virginia US senator, back in the 80's as I recall. He claimed he took his clothes off with the "massage therapist" or whoever, thought better of it, got dressed and left the room. That's all that happened, he swears. And if you believe that...

    I don't think he lasted after that, although not sure he was running for higher office.

  6. ...and don't forget Wilbur Mills. There should be a monument on the Mall for that guy. Best story ever.

  7. I don't think the question is one of dropping out. That's really a candidate decision that has nothing to do with what we really want to know, which is what effect do scandals have on electoral success? Part of it is an intractable question: how many people don't run for national office because of looming scandals in their background that haven't been dug up in congressional or other races? We'll never know.

    As to actual scandals, the first thing that comes to my mind is Kennedy and Chappaquiddick. I have no idea if it influenced his decision to run in '72 or '76, but I think the way it was brought back to life in '79 had a real impact on the nomination fight in for '80.



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