The U.S. presidential election of 2008 is scheduled to occur on November 4, 2008. The election will determine the 44th President of the United States. The allocation of electoral votes to each state will remain the same for this election as it was for the election in 2004, relying on the 2000 Census. The winner will be sworn-in on January 20, 2009.

The shape of presidential battlesEdit

Recent elections have revolved around the dominant Republican and Democratic parties, although many candidates seek election to the presidency. In recent presidential elections, however, minor parties such as the Green, Libertarian, and Reform parties, as well as Ross Perot's 1992 independent candidacy, have sometimes affected both the tone of the campaigns and the outcome of the election. Modern third parties allow a broad choice to voters who doubt that their views are represented by either of the major parties. They can, as they have in the past, siphon votes from a major party that otherwise would have gone to it, creating a relative gain for the other major party. Many political observers believe that in the 2000 race the extremely close vote counts for Gore and Bush in Florida were affected by the votes that went instead to other parties (mainly the Green Party) and that the outcome might have been different if they were not on the ballot.

In 2008, President Bush will be prohibited from seeking a third term by Amendment XXII to the US Constitution. In the last three eight-year administrations, the incumbent vice president has gone on to run for president at the end of the eight years: Dwight D. Eisenhower's vice president Richard Nixon in the 1960 election, Ronald Reagan's vice president George H. W. Bush in the 1988 election and Bill Clinton's vice president Al Gore in the 2000 election.

However, current Vice President Dick Cheney announced in 2001 that he would never run for President. In 2008 he will be 67 years old. In 2004, while appearing on Fox News Sunday, he said: "I will say just as hard as I possibly know how to say ... 'If nominated, I will not run,' 'If elected, I will not serve,' or not only no, but 'Hell no,' I've got my plans laid out. I'm going to serve this president for the next four years, and then I'm out of here." Nonetheless, Bob Woodward raised eyebrows in 2005 by stating that Cheney was a "serious darkhorse" candidate for the GOP nomination 2008 [1] and later predicting that the nominees in 2008 would be Hillary Clinton for the Democrats and Dick Cheney for the Republicans [2].

Assuming that George W. Bush, who was re-elected in 2004, remains in office through 2008, the 2008 race will be a non-incumbent or open seat election: one in which a sitting president is not a candidate. Furthermore, if Cheney does not run (and assuming he serves his full term), the 2008 race will be the first time since 1928 that neither the sitting president nor the sitting vice president is a candidate for president. (The 1952 general election between Eisenhower and Stevenson also did not include a sitting president or vice president, but sitting Vice President Alben Barkley had been a nominee for the Democratic ticket.)

Timeline Edit

Early fundraising and primaries Edit

Candidates of the Constitution, Democratic, Green, Libertarian, Republican, Socialist and other parties have begun making their plans known as early as 2005, and candidates will emerge during 2006 and 2007 because of the long lead time for fund-raising. Federal election laws require the reporting of funds raised for the primary elections, and in the past the media has anointed "front-runners" on the basis of reported fund-raising totals. For example, this occurred with Howard Dean in the 2004 electoral cycle, although he was initially considered a long-shot.

Beginning in January 2008, the first primary contests will be held in Iowa (caucus) and New Hampshire (primary) and perhaps other states to select delegates to the party conventions. The primaries continue through June, but in previous cycles, including 2004, the candidates were effectively chosen by the March primaries.

Later events Edit

While it is rare for candidates to officially declare their candidacy prior to late in the year preceding the presidential election (in this case, 2007), some potential candidates may have expressed their interest in running, and are listed below. At this early stage, many of the strongest candidates might have yet to emerge, and these lists include few of the political figures who excite speculation amongst political activists, insiders, and media commentators.

People considered to be actively laying the groundwork for a 2008 runEdit

Democrats Edit

  • Evan Bayh, Former governor and currently a U.S. senator from Indiana. In February of 2005, Bayh renamed his political action committee the "All America PAC" and hired a new veteran staff with experience on John Kerry, Tom Daschle, and Wesley Clark's 2004 presidential campaigns.[3] His new staff includes New Hampshire political operative Steve Bouchard, his deputy Chris Smith, longtime Democratic fundraiser Nancy Jacobson, and informal advisor Ronald Klain.
  • Joe Biden, U.S. senator from Delaware and 1988 Democratic primary candidate. On December 8, 2004, Biden announced to radio host Don Imus: "I'm going to proceed as if I'm going to run." Also, he told Meet the Press host Tim Russert that he "might" run. Grassroots Petition On June 19, 2005, he told Bob Schieffer on CBS's Face the Nation, that it was now his intention to seek the Presidential nomination of the Democratic Party, thus confirming his candidacy, but he also said that he would make his final decision whether to run by the end of 2005 based in part on his ability to raise sufficient funds to conduct a campaign.
  • Wesley Clark, retired United States Army four-star general and former Supreme Allied Commander of NATO. Clark is travelling widely through his WesPAC political action committee [4], and is a commentator on FOX News, while grassroots campaigns for Clark have become active on the internet [5]. Clark was a 2004 Presidential candidate as well.
  • Hillary Rodham Clinton, U.S. senator from New York and former First Lady of the United States. While frequently asked by media interviewers about her plans for 2008, she has remained noncommital, saying she is now focusing on her upcoming re-election campaign in 2006. In spite of this, polling organizations generally include her on polls involving likely candidates. She has delivered several speeches, including one on abortion, which analysts say are intended to reach out to moderates. She has also been holding fundraising meetings, including meeting with women from Massachusetts, a key constituency of potential rival and 2004 nominee John Kerry.(a) However, these activities are consistent with the lead up to a campaign for re-election to her Senate seat in 2006. Many Republicans appear to desire Hillary Clinton's candidacy for President, presumably believing her to be a polarizing figure and thus easy to defeat. The popular parody newspaper The Onion ran a headline mocking this attitude, asking "Could Hillary Clinton Have What It Takes To Defeat The Democrats In 2008?"
  • John Edwards, former U.S. senator from North Carolina and 2004 Democratic vice-presidential candidate. Edwards has kept his political action committee, One America, to fund his travel and appearances across the nation.[6] On February 5, 2005, Edwards spoke at the New Hampshire Democratic Party's fundraising dinner. On August 18, 2005, Edwards traveled to Waterloo, Iowa to deliver an address to the Iowa AFL-CIO, a potential key supporter in the Iowa caucus. Officially, Edwards refuses to say whether he will run in 2008. [7]
  • Russ Feingold, U.S. senator from Wisconsin, announced to a meeting of the Tiger Bay Club of Volusia County, Florida, in January 2005 that he was considering a run for the nomination, and would decide after "going around the country" to campaign for fellow Democrats running for other offices [8]. On January 21, 2005, he filed papers with the Federal Election Commission to form the Progressive Patriots PAC, soon to be renamed the Progressive Patriots Fund, a "leadership committee," which will be financing his travels around the country [9]. In early March 2005, his Senate campaign registered the domain name for the Web site as well as the .org and .net versions [10]. In early April of 2005, Feingold announced that he would be divorcing his second wife, a move which some analysts believe could diminish his chances of winning the presidential nomination. Others, such as blogger Markos Moulitsas Zúniga (better known as "Kos"), have disagreed, pointing to successful Republican political figures with multiple divorces. [11][12] On August 17, 2005, Feingold became the first U.S. senator to publicly support a firm date for withdrawal from the Iraq war [13], suggesting December 31, 2006 as a reasonable date. Although Feingold's stance was generally criticized by other Democratic senators, including Biden and Clinton, his support in nonscientific internet polls of party activists jumped.
  • John Kerry, U.S. senator from Massachusetts, and defeated in the 2004 Presidential Election. On March 1, 2005, Kerry created a new PAC, Keeping America's Promise, which he plans to use to maintain national visibility and political viability. [14] Dan Payne, a Democratic strategist, told the Washington Post that "This is the kind of thing he has to do" in order to run for president in 2008 [15]. Kerry told CNN, with respect to a run in 2008, "it's crazy to be thinking about it now" but went on to say that "I'll make my judgment when the time comes and I don't care what history says." [16]Unofficial 2008 Website Kerry raised eyebrows when he made a strong statement as to how to lead in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina following Bush's addresss to the nation. [17]
  • Bill Richardson, governor of New Mexico, former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Secretary of Energy and U.S. representative. In February 2005, the Associated Press reported that he has informed party leaders that he intends to run[18].
  • Mark Warner, governor of Virginia, has not stated whether or not he intends to run in 2008. According to The Washington Post, [19] he has started taking steps towards a presidential run by forming a federal political action committee called the Forward Together Committee and hiring a former top aide to Vice President Al Gore to advise him on national politics. There is also a strong Draft Mark Warner for President movement, and has already started printing Draft Warner campaign pins and bumper stickers. Warner is a moderate Democrat, and uses his cover as the Chairman of the National Governor's Association to make trips to early primary states nationwide.

(a) This was backed up by an AP wire story at, but this link is no longer active.

Republicans Edit

Since George W. Bush will not be eligible for re-election in 2008, and Dick Cheney has said he will not run for President, this will put the burden on the Republicans to find a new candidate. Assuming Cheney serves his full term (and thus is not succeeded by a potential Republican Presidential candidate sometime before November 2008) it will be the first time that the incumbent party has put forth a candidate for President who is not currently President or Vice President since the U.S. presidential election of 1952. It will be the first time the Republicans have faced this situation since the U.S. presidential election of 1928.

  • George Felix Allen, current senator and former governor of Virginia, as of May 2nd, 2005, a survey of 75 Washington insiders conducted by National Journal's The Hotline reveals that he is considered to be the current front-runner for the GOP party nomination.
  • Sam Brownback, senior senator from Kansas. In April 2005, the Associated Press reported that Brownback, who is little known outside his home state, "is using a network of social conservatives and Christian activists to raise his profile" in such battleground states as Iowa and New Hampshire. [20] [21]
  • Bill Frist, the U.S. Senate Majority Leader from Tennessee. Has been making trips to early battleground states.
  • Newt Gingrich, former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives and former U.S. Representative from Georgia. According to the Associated Press, "The former House speaker who led Republicans to power a decade ago said he soon will visit Iowa and New Hampshire to promote his book, try to influence public policy and keep his political options alive." The AP reported him as saying "Anything seems possible," including a White House race. [22] In 2005, Gingrich was good-naturedly prompted by The Daily Show host Jon Stewart to announce his ambition for the presidency, to which Gingrich responded "...the last guy to announce on your show came in fourth."
  • Rudy Giuliani, former mayor of New York City, has not announced his intentions, but he has led several state and nationwide polls for the Republican nomination and the general election, and has been mentioned by many media sources as a possible candidate since the 9/11 attacks and a speech to the 2004 Republican Convention. ([23], see polls below)
  • Chuck Hagel, U.S. senator from Nebraska, became the first Republican senator to call for a withdrawal from Iraq on August 18, 2005. Hagel, a Vietnam War veteran, compared the war in Iraq to that conflict, openly mocked Vice President Cheney's assertion thatthe Iraqi insurgency was in its "last throes," and called for the United States to leave Iraq as soon as possible [24].
  • Mike Huckabee, governor of Arkansas, an Arkansas News Bureau Report [25] indicates that he has told close friends that he will seek the nomination. There is at least one Draft Huckabee site online -[26].
  • John McCain, senator from Arizona. Often characterized as a Republican maverick in the Senate, he is a well-known political figure in America. Despite his strong pro-life stance, his willingness to compromise on judicial nominations has drawn the ire of conservative groups, many of which have vowed to work against any McCain campaigns for the Republican nomination in 2008. In 2000 he lost the Presidential nomination to George W. Bush. McCain was quoted by Men's Journal magazine as saying, "Presidential ambition is a disease that can only be cured by embalming fluid." [27] [28]
  • George Pataki, governor of New York. Announcing that he will not seek a fourth term as governor in 2006, and unlikely to defeat Hillary Clinton for her Senate seat, Pataki has held meetings with his advisors and has quietly indicated that he's very interested in the Republican nomination.[29]
  • Tim Pawlenty, governor of Minnesota. He has been widely pegged as a potential candidate by Washington insiders and was mentioned in high regards by top conservative leaders at the Council for National Policy meeting in early 2005 [30]. The New York Times also called him "a popular conservative considered a rising star." [31] Pawlenty's star, however, took a tumble in 2005 when a budget showdown with the DFL-controlled Senate exploded into a two-week government shutdown.
  • Mitt Romney, governor of Massachusetts. WFXT, a Boston FOX affiliate, reports that Romney supporters have been quietly laying the groundwork for a presidential campaign. On February 21, 2005 he spoke before South Carolina Republicans; the winner of the South Carolina primary has gone on to be the Republican nominee in every election since 1980. [32]. Romney is supported by Utah Governor Jon Huntsman, Jr., who has been working on issue papers for Romney. [33].
  • Tom Tancredo, U.S. congressman from Colorado and leading advocate for immigration reform. The Associated Press reported Jun 12, 2005 that "he is so dissatisfied with the pace and direction of immigration reform, he is considering running for president to deal with it himself." Tancredo is considered to be a long shot by most observers but has a dedicated grassroots following among disgruntled paleo-conservatives. He has visited early presidential primary states New Hampshire and Iowa to begin building popular support. There are several sites and blogs in support of a Tancredo run. [34]

Greens Edit

Libertarians Edit

  • Michael Badnarik, 2004 Libertarian Party presidential nominee. Badnarik announced his intentions to run in 2008 in November 2004.
  • Lance Brown, CEO for People's Forums. His campaign started in 1994 according to his web site.

Independents Edit

Other people mentioned as possible candidatesEdit

Democrats Edit

Republicans Edit

Opinion pollingEdit

See Opinion polling for the 2008 American presidential election


  1. Template:Note 44th President provided current President George W. Bush serves as President until January 20, 2009, when his current term expires.

See also Edit


References Edit

External links Edit