The Record (New Jersey)?
January 25, 1987?? ?


Based on moves being made and signals being sent, the potential 1988 presidential field looks like this:

Likely Democratic candidates:


From their new base in the Colorado hills, Hart and his staff work on renewing ties with 1984 supporters and erasing that year’s campaign debt. He lectures at the University of Florida law school, gives speeches on major issues, and promotes his latest novel. Hart is expected to announce his candidacy late March or early April.


The senator from Delaware has key staff people in place and is seeking financial commitments. “He is farthest along the message trail,” said a politician impressed with Biden’s ability to evoke JFK and appeal to a new generation. “In the best position to be the Gary Hart of 1988,” said another.


The fair-haired congressman from St. Louis works neighboring Iowa as if he owns it and has made more trips there than any other Democratic candidate. Other House members help him raise money nationally. He talks of restoring the nation’s place as world trade leader. He worked closely with Sen. Bill Bradley, D-N.J., in their push for what became last year’s major tax overhaul. He plans to announce his candidacy Feb. 23.


Babbitt has bicycled across Iowa, climbed Mount Washington in New Hampshire, and sent reporters a brochure called “The Arizona Story,” portraying his accomplishments as governor. He is expected to declare in March and base his campaign on his economic know-how. He says he can show the country how to afford social programs and still compete in the world market.


The only candidate with instant organization, he doesn’t have to go through the same hoops as the others. Most Democratic activists feel that he will try for the nomination again this year, with the same plea for liberalism and inclusion employed in 1984 and more efforts to broaden his base beyond blacks.


Despite fraud indictments of top aides, the far-right fringe figure plans again to seek the presidential nomination from a party that disavows him. He recently issued a statement saying he will speed up his campaign because “this is no time to elect another ordinary sort of president. ”

Possible Democratic candidates:


“For him alone it is a very different set of questions,” said a Democrat. Money is no problem, and his message of “family” and the need for compassionate government is well-established. But if potential supporters are to wait for him he must give signs of willingness to broaden his inner circle and test the waters. His plans to visit five states, including Iowa, add to the feeling that he will run.


This senator from Georgia has said he will decide whether to run in the next couple of weeks. He would come on forcefully for strong defense and could claim support as the only Southerner and the main moderate in the field. He has no national political organization yet.


The Massachusetts governor has not done much except hint that he might enter the primary in neighboring New Hampshire. His chance at viability might come only if Cuomo does not run, since they would compete for many of the same supporters.

Declared Republican candidate:


The former Delaware governor and congressman is a good example of the rule saying the farther behind you are, earlier you must start. He announced in September. He does not have much organization, and he searches for conservative support with calls to end farm supports and test high school students for drugs.

Likely Republican candidates:


There is no official campaign committee, but an extensive organization is in place, awaiting the time when he changes mode from vice-president to candidate later this year. He is under pressure to develop a message that differentiates him from President Reagan, but not so much that he seems disloyal. He could be the last to declare officially, and he will milk whatever advantages are inherent in his incumbency as vice-president.


The New York congressman is expected to declare by the end of March. He has on board many top Reagan campaign organizers, and he aims to argue that he is the natural heir to the conservative “revolution” by emphasizing “Star Wars,” social issues, and monetary reform. Kemp has made more than 10 trips to Iowa so far and has a good New Hampshire organization. He is a proven fund-raiser.


With $2 million left from his Senate race in Kansas, the Senate minority leader has no money problem and could enter the race later as a result. But he has not developed a message, said a GOP strategist. He could come across as a party establishment type who does not want to go any farther right than Reagan, or he could be an ideologue. Or he could stress his experience and competence.


The fundamentalist Christian broadcaster’s message is a well-defined call for a right-wing social agenda. His network of backers in the Christian right is well-organized but new to presidential politics. He says he will run if 3 million supporters sign petitions by September.

Possible Republican candidate:


The former senator from Tennessee could be the first ever to form an exploratory committee and then decide not to run. His delay in deciding is seen as a further indication that he will not try to reenter politics.

  • Dan

    Thanks – that’s an excellent reminder of how the early-early predictions are often so off-base. ANYthing can happen.

Looking for something?

Use the form below to search the site:

Still not finding what you're looking for? Drop a comment on a post or contact us so we can take care of it!