Mayoral Endorsement Guide
posted by Josh Goodman
With Super Tuesday finally here, I'm willing to make the barely controversial suggestion that neither party's presidential nomination will hinge on endorsements and the completely uncontroversial suggestion that mayoral endorsements in particular won't be a critical factor.
So why am I about to tell you about the endorsements from mayors in the nation's 50 most populous cities?
As I've argued before, endorsements say at least a little about the endorsees and a lot of about the endorsers.
The full list is below, but first a few thoughts:
* Clinton and Obama are tied with nine endorsements each from mayors in the 50 largest cities. Clinton gets the edge because her boosters represent more people than Obama's (9.1 million to 7.3 million), thanks in large part to Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. If Michael Bloomberg entered the race, he'd immediately surpass Obama (but not Clinton) in population, assuming he endorsed himself.
* Unsurprisingly, the Republicans don't do nearly as well. McCain is supported by four mayors and Romney two.
* The mayoral endorsements are interesting when considered against the backdrop of the racial and generational divides that have emerged on the Democratic side. Washington, D.C.'s Adrian Fenty favors Obama, as do other young black mayors such as Newark's Cory Booker and Youngstown's Jay Williams, who serve in cities that didn't make my population threshold. Older black politicians including Oakland's Ron Dellums and Memphis' Willie Herenton support Clinton.
That said, Michael Nutter was elected mayor of Philadelphia last year in an election heralded for transcending race. In the Democratic primary, Nutter, who's black, did nearly as well among white voters as black voters. That storyline might make him sound like an Obama guy, but Nutter favors Clinton.
* The two black women on my list, Atlanta's Shirley Franklin and Baltimore's Sheila Dixon, both favor Obama.
* As the Washington Post's Joel Achenbach has pointed out, Boston Mayor Thomas Menino may win a reputation as a giant killer after today. Menino backs Clinton, while Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick and the state's two U.S. senators, John Kerry and Ted Kennedy, prefer Obama. Most polls show Clinton ahead.
Don't get too caught up with Menino's significance, though -- Boston is less than 10 percent of Massachusetts' population. If Clinton wins, the real story may be the irrelevance of endorsements.
* I can point you to one mayoral endorsement that, at least circumstantially, seems to have swayed voters. Jacksonville's John Peyton backed Romney. As you can see here, Romney's strongest performance in Florida was in the Jacksonville area. That could have more to do with Northeast Florida being one of the most conservative parts of the state, however.
* Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon backs McCain, which wouldn't be news except for one detail: Gordon is a Democrat. As the Arizona Republic has noted, Gordon's penchant for backing Republicans may hinder his future political ambitions.
City Mayor Endorsement
Albuquerque Martin Chavez Clinton
Arlington Robert Cluck None
Atlanta Shirley Franklin Obama
Austin Will Wynn None
Baltimore Sheila Dixon Obama
Boston Thomas Menino Clinton
Charlotte Pat McCrory None
Chicago Richard Daley Obama
Cleveland Frank Jackson None
Colorado Springs Lionel Rivera Romney
Columbus Michael Coleman Obama
Dallas Tom Leppert None
Denver John Hickenlooper None
Detroit Kwame Kilpatrick None
El Paso John Cook None
Fort Worth Mike Moncrief None
Fresno Alan Autry McCain
Honolulu Mufi Hannemann None
Houston Bill White None
Indianapolis Greg Ballard None
Jacksonville John Peyton Romney
Kansas City Mark Funkhouser None
Las Vegas Oscar Goodman None
Long Beach Bob Foster Obama
Los Angeles Antonio Villaraigosa Clinton
Louisville Jerry Abramson None
Memphis Willie Herenton Clinton
Mesa Keno Hawker None*
Miami Manny Diaz Clinton
Milwaukee Tom Barrett Obama
Minneapolis R.T. Rybak Obama
Nashville Karl Dean None
New York City Michael Bloomberg None
Oakland Ron Dellums Clinton
Oklahoma City Mick Cornett None
Omaha Mike Fahey None**
Philadelphia Michael Nutter Clinton
Phoenix Phil Gordon McCain
Portland Tom Potter None
Sacramento Heather Fargo Clinton
San Antonio Phil Hardberger None
San Diego Jerry Sanders McCain
San Francisco Gavin Newsom Clinton
San Jose Chuck Reed None
Seattle Greg Nickels Obama
Tucson Bob Walkup McCain
Tulsa Kathy Taylor None***
Virginia Beach Meyera Oberndorf None
Washington, D.C. Adrian Fenty Obama
Wichita Carl Brewer None
* Hawker has contributed money to McCain, but hasn't formally endorsed him, so far as I can tell.
** Fahey has contributed money to Obama, Dodd and Richardson
*** Taylor has given money to Obama, but has not endorsed him officially.