Friday, December 14, 2007

Support That's Hard to Come By

As the presidential candidates continue to fight for influential endorsements, one group has proven largely immune to excessive courting, even from its own colleagues – the United States Senate. As Paul Kane reports, these endorsements remain highly coveted, especially in key battleground states, yet have become much more difficult to come by. To date, "the two leading recipients of senatorial endorsements are Clinton, with nine, and McCain, with 10."
“(For all of the frivolity), one thing remains odd about the senators-turned-candidates and their relationships inside the chamber: Very few of their colleagues have bothered to endorse their candidacies.

On both the Democratic and Republican side of the aisle, barely a third of the Senate has endorsed a candidate. Despite - or perhaps because of - the intensifying battle for the nomination, just 22 of the 48 Senate Republicans have endorsed a candidate for president (exempting Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) since he obviously endorses his own bid).

More stunning, just 12 of the 47 senators in the Democratic caucus have endorsed a candidate for the Democratic nomination (exempting the four vying for that nomination).

…This is in sharp contrast to the House, where basically half of the 435 members have endorsed candidates. While just 25 percent of Senate Democrats have sided with a candidate, 122 House Democrats -- more than 50 percent -- have gotten out front of the campaign and endorsed.

A huge majority of senators appear to have made the calculation that is simply better to wait for a clear winner to emerge, avoiding any risk of siding with a loser and engendering ill will with the eventual nominee.

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