Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Should Sitting Officials Resign to Run for President?

This morning's Sun speculated on who Governor Spitzer might choose to fill Senator Clinton's seat if she is elected President next year, adding Attorney General Andrew Cuomo to the list that many agree also includes Lieutenant Governor David Paterson and Congresswoman Nita Lowey.

This talk about gubernatorial appointing got us thinking about the inevitable push for sitting politicians to resign their current posts when the presidential campaign really heats up. Someone is always keeping count of the number of votes each senator-turned-candidate misses while out on the trail, and some observers have even suggested that states should require senators to resign once they become serious contenders.

As we see this year, senators love to run for president (by my count, we've got 6 in the race right now), but history hasn't revealed many of them that are confident enough in their presidential prospects to give up their day jobs.

Sitting Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole resigned in June to throw his full energy into the 1996 campaign.

But both John Kerry and his running mate John Edwards stayed in their Senate seats during the 2004 campaign, though Edwards gave up his safety net by declining to simultaneously campaign for reelection to the Senate.

For what it's worth, a November 2006 Gallup poll showed that, after reelecting Senator Clinton in a landslide, 35% of New Yorkers thought she should resign if she ran for president.

We'd love to hear your thoughts on the subject!

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