A day after he told the Albuquerque Journal he would "spend a couple of days in New Mexico and then get ready for Nevada," the Associated Press is reporting that "two people close to the governor with knowledge of the decision" have told them NM Governor Bill Richardson will end his campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination.
Richardson raised some decent money, and last Summer appeared poised to create his own tier, moving out of the pack that included Joe Biden, Chris Dodd and others to possibly become a viable alternative to the "big three" of Clinton, Edwards and Obama. But unlike Mike Huckabee, who pulled off that feat on the Republican side, Richardson never really put it together. He took a much stronger anti-war stand on Iraq than his rivals, but he was also prone to some positions well to the right of the others, like his support for a constitutional amendment requiring a balanced budget. His public performances were uneven at best. After numerous lackluster debate performances and some dreadful television appearances--like the time on Meet the Press when he pandered too much claiming to a fan of both the Red Sox AND the Yankees--he had seemingly campaigned himself out of contention for even the VP slot.
Richardson had by far the most impressive resume of anyone in the race. But people don't vote for resumes, and he never came up with a compelling enough reason for people to vote for him instead of one of the big three. After last night's performance, where he received only 5% of the vote, his fate was sealed.
But remember this. Not only do we have a contest where our top two leading candidates for the Democratic nomination are a woman and an African-American man, the person who finished fourth in NH, a state with a minuscule Latino population, was a major figure in American foreign policy of the last 15 years who also happened to be a Latino and governor of a Southwestern state. And the other leading contender for our nomination is a white male from the south running on a campaign of unabashed populism.
The other guys? Fighting it out are a bunch of pasty old white guys, one of whom doesn't believe in science, another who's content if we stay in Iraq for 100 years, and a plutocrat who's trying to buy the nomination.
But Katie Roberts, deputy communications director for the Richardson campaign. told NBC News that as of now the governor is taking care of official business and getting ready for the legislative session in New Mexico.
A Richard campaign insider told NBC Political Director Chuck Todd on Tuesday before the New Hampshire results were in that the candidate might "suspend, not end" his campaign soon, meaning he would halt active campaigning but not officially drop out.
Not really much of a disavowal. Suspending a campaign that never caught on is the same as ending it.