Not Running for President in 2004

Senator Joe Biden (DE): U.S. Senate office, Committee on Foreign Relations, (unofficial site), Citizens for Biden (2002 re-election)      ...on August 11, 2003

Former Senator Gary Hart (CO): Gary Hart (official pre-campaign site), Coudert Brothers, U.S. Commission on Nat. Security/21st Century      ...on May 7, 2003

Senator Chris Dodd (D-C): U.S. Senate office      ...on March 3, 2003

Senator Russ Feingold (WI): U.S. Senate office, Feingold Senate Committee      ...on March 1, 2003

Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle: Democratic Policy Committee, U.S. Senate office,    DASHPAC, FEC: DASHPAC (2) ...independent sites:,          ...on January 7, 2003

Former Vice President Al Gore: Leadership '02, FEC: Leadership '02, P2000 page ...independent site: (unofficial page)  a Dec. 15, 2002 announcement on CBS "60 Minutes"

Former Sen. Bill Bradley (D): Web page
Bill Bradley is serving as managing director of Allen & Company, Inc., an investment bank headquartered in New York.  He has given almost no signs of interest in making a second run, eschewing entry into the political debates of the day, and maintaining a low profile.

Rep. Marcy Kaptur: U.S. House office   Bills (Thomas)-107th-106th
Elected to represent northwest Ohio (Toledo) in 1982, Rep. Marcy Kaptur prompted some speculation by visiting Iowa in mid-March 2001.  She delivered a speech on "A New Declaration of Economic Independence for Rural America" to a farmer bargaining conference at Iowa State University in Ames on March 16, 2001.  In the fall, on October 13, 2001, the congresswoman visited New Hampshire, speaking at the state's AFL-CIO convention and meeting with campaign finance reform activists.  As a women, Kaptur would stand out from the field of male candidates, but she is not well know nationally.  Kaptur was re-elected to an eleventh term on November 5, 2002.

Governor Tom Vilsack (D-IA): Governor's office, Iowans for Vilsack-Pederson (2002 re-election)
Tom Vilsack was elected Governor of Iowa in November 1998 and was re-elected to a second term on November 5, 2002, defeating Doug Gross (R) 52.7 percent to 44.6 percent.  He will be a force in the Iowa caucus campaign, and his endorsement much sought after.

Governor Roy Barnes (D-GA): Governor's office, Barnes for Governor (2002 re-election)
Roy Barnes was elected Governor of Georgia in November 1998, but was upset by Sonny Perdue (R) in his bid for re-election on November 5, 2002 by 51.4 percent to 46.2 percent.  The confederate flag emblem on the Georgia state flag was a major issue in the race.

Senator Evan Bayh (D-IN): U.S. Senate office, Democratic Leadership Council
Sen. Evan Bayh was named chairman of the DLC in Feb. 2001, succeeding Joe Lieberman.  He ruled out 2004 presidential bid in mid-June 2001 citing family considerations.  "To run for president means I would abandon my kids for the next 3 1/2 years," Bayh stated in an article appearing in the Indianapolis Star on June 15, 2001.  He discussed the decision the same day at a news conference in Indianapolis at which he announced a federal grant for an Indiana fatherhood initiative.

Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY): U.S. Senate office
Friends of Hillary, FEC (FoH), HILLPAC, FEC (HILLPAC), Draft Hillary 2004 for President Committee      Images
During her 2000 Senate campaign, Hillary Rodham Clinton pledged to serve out her term.  In February 2001 she established a leadership PAC, HILLPAC, directed by Patti Solis-Doyle, her former scheduler.  In response to an April 6, 2001 New York Post cover article which stated that she had ruled out running for president at any point, Clinton told The Associated Press that same day, "I'm going to serve out my term and I don't intend to run for president."  Nonetheless HILLPAC was among the most active of the leadership PACs in the 2002 cycle.  On June 9, 2003 LIVING HISTORY (Simon & Schuster) hit bookstores, prompting another round of speculation. 

Clinton's repeated disavowals of interest did not discourage conservative-leaning commentators from conjuring up scenarios of how she would enter the race;'s Carl Limbacher even penned a 288-page book, HILLARY'S SCHEME: Inside the Next Clinton's Ruthless Agenda to Take the White House (Crown Forum, July 2003).  Neither did they discourage admirers such as Adam Parkhomenko, who on September 16, 2003 filed with the FEC to establish a Draft Hillary 2004 for President Committee and also launched a website.
Dick Morris.  May 2004. REWRITING HISTORY.  Regan Books.

Carl Limbacher.  July 2003.  HILLARY'S SCHEME: Inside the Next Clinton's Ruthless Agenda to Take the White House.  Crown Forum.

Hillary Rodham Clinton.  June 9, 2003.  LIVING HISTORY.  Simon & Schuster.
Patrick S. Halley.  August 2002.  ON THE ROAD WITH HILLARY: A Behind-The-Scenes Look at the Journey from Arkansas to the U.S. Senate.  Viking Press.

Beth J. Harpaz.  October 2001.  THE GIRLS IN THE VAN: Covering Hillary.  St. Martin's Press.

Michael Tomasky.  February 2001.  HILLARY'S TURN: Inside Her Improbable, Victorious Senate Campaign.  Free Press.

Governor Gray Davis (D-CA): Governor's office, The Governor Gray Davis Committee (2002 re-election)
The governor of the nation's most populous state (estimated population in July 2001 was 34.5 million or 12.1% of the total population of the United States) is always a factor in presidential politics.  Gray Davis was elected Governor of California in November 1998.  He also served as 2001 chair of the Democratic Governor's Association.

Electricity blackouts and soaring energy prices in 2000 and early 2001 hit Davis hard and continue to have lingering effects.  The state's budget surplus turned into huge deficit, prompting sharp cuts in spending, as well as an automatic increase in the sales tax and pointed criticism from Republicans. 

Davis is a formidable fundraiser; he spent almost $78 million on his 2002 re-election campaign.  Davis faced only token Democratic opposition in the March 5, 2002 primary.  Nonetheless the Davis campaign spent as much as $10 million to run a television ad campaign which effectively undercut former Los Angeles mayor Dick Riordan, the favored and more moderate Republican candidate (for example, by questioning his inconsistency on the issue of a woman's right to choose).  These ads paved the way for conservative businessman Bill Simon, Jr., to win the Republican primary.  Effectively Davis chose his own opponent.  Davis defeated Simon on November 5, 2002 by 47.4 percent to 42.4 percent; in an indication of Californians' discontent with the negative tenor of the campaign, four third party candidates combined for 10.2 percent of the vote.

Former Sen. Bob Kerrey (NE): New School University

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ): U.S. Senate office, Straight Talk America, FEC (Straight Talk America)

"I have not instructed nor encouraged any of my advisors to begin planning for a presidential run in 2004.  I have not discussed running for president again with anyone.

"As I have said repeatedly, I have no intention of running for president, nor do I have any intention of or cause to leave the Republican Party.  I hope this will put an end to further speculation on this subject."
                                                                                                                                                                -Statement, June 3, 2001

Despite McCain's statement, above, some people persisted in speculating that the maverick Arizona Senator could challenge Bush again, possibly even making the switch to the Democratic Party.  In April 2002, not one, but two major articles in opinion magazines suggested precisely that.  In a Washington Monthly cover story, editor Joshua Green presented the argument for "Why Democrats should draft John McCain in 2004--and why he should let them," and in the April 29 The New Republic, senior editor Jonathan Chait argued that, "John McCain ought to become a Democrat--and a presumptive front-runner for the party's presidential nomination in 2004."  A variation on the theme suggested that McCain might join Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) as his running mate (see for example Jonathan Miles' profile in the August 2002 Men's Journal). 

Whether the Straight Talk Express will ride again, at least on the road to the White House, is doubtful, but in March 2002 McCain finally achieved passage of campaign finance reform legislation after a 6 1/2 year struggle.  President Bush quietly signed the bill into law on March 27, 2002.  McCain responded with a terse one sentence statement: "I'm pleased that President Bush has signed campaign finance reform legislation into law."  With Mark Salter, McCain wrote a new book, WORTH THE FIGHTING FOR, which appeared in September 2002; he also hosted "Saturday Night Live" on October 12.

The McCain speculation would not stop.  After Sen. John Kerry effectively secured the nomination in March, the idea that Kerry might tap him to form a dream team or a unity ticket resurfaced despite the two men's significant differences on a number of issues.  On June 12 a number of news outlets reported that Kerry had indeed discussed the notion with McCain, but that McCain was not interested.
Paul Alexander.  October 2002.  MAN OF THE PEOPLE: The Life of John McCain. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.

John McCain with Mark Salter.  September 2002.  WORTH THE FIGHTING FOR.

Elizabeth Drew.  May 13, 2002.  CITIZEN McCAIN.  New York: Simon & Schuster.

Joshua Green.  The Big Switch: Why Democrats should draft John McCain in 2004--and why he should let them."  Washington Monthly, April 2002. >

Jonathan Chait.  "What's in a Name?  Why John McCain is the Democrats' Best Hope."  The New Republic, April 29, 2002. >

Copyright © 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004  Eric M. Appleman/Democracy in Action