“Time” magazine is calling Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack one of the “likely” democratic candidates for president in 2008. Would a Vilsack candidacy keep other candidates from campaigning here? That’s what happened in 1992 when native son Tom Harkin ran for president. Joe Shannahan was spokesperson for the Iowa Democratic Party in ’92. Shannahan says Harkin’s rivals for the Democratic party’s presidential nomination back in 1992 didn’t spend a lot of time campaigning in Iowa because Harkin was expected to easily win Iowa and because 1992 was a short campaign. Shannahan says the 1992 campaign got off to a late start because of the first Gulf War. Many candidates — intimidated by the huge popularity of the first President Bush — waited and waited before launching a bid for the White House and several nationally-known candidates like former New York Governor Mario Cuomo decided against running that year. Shannahan says a Vilsack candidacy in ’08 probably won’t have the same impact on the Iowa Caucuses that Harkin’s candidacy did. “If the race indeed starts within the next six to nine months, with candidates exploring possibilities of running, they will all decide to take a look at Iowa as a viable place to start their campaigns,” Shannahan predicts. Retired General Wesley Clark said in late October during an appearance in Des Moines that skipping Iowa was the worst mistake of his short-lived 2004 campaign. As Radio Iowa reported last week, Governor Tom Vilsack isn’t willing to talk publicly about running for president.
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