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« Counting Some of the Votes | Main | Snub, You Lose »

February 04, 2008

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.

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