Governor Tom Vilsack delivers his “condition of the state” message today (Tuesday), and some observers believe Vilsack may use it to lay the groundwork for a presidential race. University of Iowa political science professor Peverill Squire says Vilsack’s status as a “red state” politician enhances his chances. “I think Governor Vilsack is going to be one of a handful of people that people within the Democratic Party are going to be discussing early in the campaign,” Squire says. “Democrats may be looking more to statehouses than congress for their next (presidential) candidate.” Squire says if Vilsack decides to run, he’ll still be a “long-shot” to win the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination in 2008, but Squire says Vilsack shouldn’t have difficulty raising money for a race. Vilsack has said he will not seek reelection as Iowa’s governor in 2006, and Squire says that’s probably a good decision if Vilsack intends to run for President. Squire says Vilsack will be free to travel without having “people on the homefront” worried he’s not doing his job as governor. Plus, Squire says there’s a possibility Vilsack could lose a reelection bid in 2006. In 1992, Senator Tom Harkin ran for president and the other democratic candidates did not campaign here. Squire believes in 2006, if Vilsack runs, other democrats will still make campaign appearances in Iowa because there’ll be a lot of media focus due to the other side of the equation — the republican race. The republicans will have a wide open race, unlike 1992 when President Bush was seeking reelection.
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