Deval Patrick is a great public speaker and has charisma to spare. His speech at the Democratic National Convention was possibly the best one delivered by someone not named Bill Clinton. Patrick has vaulted into contention, if not for the presidency, then for the chance to get into contention for the presidency.
Unfortunately for Gov. Patrick, he’s governor of Massachusetts, and Massachusetts politicians in the post-Kennedy era haven’t had much luck seeking the presidency. Between Mike Dukakis, John Kerry and Mitt Romney, Massachusetts has become the state that gives us losing presidential candidates.
Now, should that matter? Of course not. But it does. Any politician from Massachusetts is going to have to fight the undertow of the Bay State Curse.
7. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y.
Many on the left were skeptical when Gillibrand was appointed to succeed Hillary Clinton in the Senate. Gillibrand was seen as too cautious, too moderate, and not enough of a “heavyweight.” Four years later, nobody’s saying that about Kirsten Gillibrand anymore. She’s earned a reputation as a tireless worker for progressive causes.
Gillibrand raised eyebrows with a visit to the Iowa delegation at the Democratic National Convention, but officially, she’s said she isn’t planning a 2016 run, and instead supports Hillary Clinton. If Clinton runs, Gillibrand almost certainly won’t, but if Clinton stays on the sidelines, Gillibrand could enter the race. If she does, don’t count her out.
Sherrod Brown has built a reputation as a hard-working, progressive senator, but that’s not his greatest asset as a potential candidate. Brown’s biggest advantage is location, location, location. It’s hard to see how a Republican wins without Ohio, and that’s where Brown hails from. If Democrats could start out with the Buckeye State locked down, it would give them a huge leg up in a bid to hang on to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
Brown has the disadvantage that everyone on the bottom half of the power rankings has — he isn’t a household name outside of his home state. That doesn’t mean he can’t run and win, of course, but it does mean that he’ll have to work hard in Iowa and New Hamphshire to break out if he chooses to make a run.
Klobuchar has been touted as a potential candidate, and like Gillibrand, she took time out to address the Iowa delegation at the Democratic National Convention. It’s entirely possible that Klobuchar could be eyeing the White House.
Klobuchar has run up two impressive wins in Minnesota, winning 58 percent of the vote in the 2006 wave election, and taking 65 percent in this year’s reelection bid. She’s positioned herself as a stable, moderate, sensible Minnesota politician, one who appeals to voters on both sides of the aisle.
Of course, that’s a sign that Klobuchar is not a liberal firebrand — and she certainly is not. She’s much closer to Bill Clinton than Barack Obama. Now, Bill Clinton isn’t bad, but Klobuchar is probably to the right of most Democratic activists.
In a crowded field, though, that could benefit her; there are still a lot of DLC Democrats around. If Cuomo runs, it’s hard to see her winning them, but if he doesn’t, Klobuchar could have the party’s centrists to herself.
Sebelius has been touted as a candidate if Clinton decides not to run, and certainly, she’s a politician with some skill. It’s not easy to win statewide office as a Democrat in Kansas, but Sebelius managed it; a politician who can do that is capable of winning her party’s nomination for the presidency.
Sebelius will have to fight the hangover of her decision to keep Plan B from becoming an over-the-counter drug, but she will be a point person in implementing the Affordable Care Act over the next four years, something that is bound to keep her profile high. That’s a double-edged sword, though; because she’ll be busy implementing Obamacare, it will be hard for her to raise the kind of money and build the kind of campaign that can win. If Sebelius leaves her post after 2014, she’s almost certainly thinking of running. If she stays on, she’s probably decided that ending your career in the cabinet is not too shabby.
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