Posted: January 10, 2008 4:31 PM
Richardson Bows Out of Race Before Western Contests Begin
Despite plans to shock the world with a successful presidential bid, New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson ended his long-shot campaign for the Democratic nomination Thursday after back-to-back fourth-place finishes in the Iowa and New Hampshire nominating contests.
Richardson, 60, announced his decision in Santa Fe, N.M., to a crowd of supporters.
“It’s been an exhilarating and humbling year. An experience I will treasure and I will never forget,” he said.
“Despite overwhelming financial and political odds, I am proud of the campaign we waged … and most importantly the influence we had on the issues that matter the most to the future of this country.”
Richardson praised the overall Democratic candidates in his remarks, but did not endorse any individual.
A strategist close to Richardson told CNN Wednesday night, “The numbers are the reason - not enough votes and not enough money.”
Richardson had hoped his campaign would survive early contests to head west where he is better known.
After placing a distant fourth in the Iowa caucus with 2 percent of the vote, Richardson had hoped to survive Tuesday’s New Hampshire primary to eventually reach friendlier turf. Richardson drew 5 percent of the vote in the Granite State.
While fellow lower-tier candidates Sen. Joe Biden, D-Del., and Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn., dropped out after the Iowa caucus, Richardson said this week that he planned to take his campaign as far as he can.
“I’ll keep going because the rest of the country - Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico, California - are next,” Richardson told New Hampshire’s WMUR “So this is a state-to-state race.”
Despite Richardson’s hopes for a Western rise, opinion polls showed that he remained in the single-digits in the region, except in New Mexico, the New York Times reported.
Richardson had one of the most wide-ranging resumes of any candidate ever to run for the presidency, bringing experience from his time in Congress, President Clinton’s Cabinet, in the New Mexico statehouse as well as his unique role as a freelance diplomat. As a Hispanic, he added to the unprecedented diversity in the Democratic field.
Born to an American father and a Mexican mother, Richardson spent the first 13 years of his life in Mexico City before moving to Massachusetts to attend boarding school.
Richardson moved to New Mexico in 1978 and was elected to Congress representing New Mexico’s 3rd District in 1982. He held that seat for 14 years, until President Clinton appointed him U.S. ambassador to the United Nations in 1997, and then secretary of energy in 1998.
In 2002, Richardson won the race for governor of New Mexico, and he was easily re-elected in 2006.
According to an informal poll of New Hampshire voters, they’d rather see Richardson as the second name on the Democratic ticket come fall.