Commentary: A Look At 4 More Potential Democratic Presidential Candidates

Former Virginia Sen. Jim Webb speaks at an event at the public library in Council Bluffs, Iowa on April 9. (Nati Harnik/AP)
Former Virginia Sen. Jim Webb speaks at an event at the public library in Council Bluffs, Iowa on April 9. (Nati Harnik/AP)

Vermont U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, 73, just entered the Democratic campaign for the presidential nomination. For Democrats dissatisfied with him or Hillary Clinton, many wish there were other choices.

On Monday I looked at Sanders, U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, former Baltimore Mayor Martin O’Malley and Vice President Joe Biden.

Now let’s take a look at four others. I’ll do the final group of possible candidates later this week.

Jim Webb: Has reputation for being difficult, fearless and unpredictable as a candidate. May not be suited to emotional ups and downs of presidential primaries.

Graduate of Naval Academy, former Virginia senator has bipartisan profile; was President Ronald Reagan's secretary of the Navy and assistant secretary of defense, then won his Senate seat as a Democrat.

Prolific author (10 books), filmmaker and decorated Vietnam veteran. Still carries shrapnel from service as Marine officer. Wore son’s combat boots while son served in Iraq. At White House reception, refused to pose for photo with President George W. Bush, who asked him about his son. Webb said he’d like him out of Iraq.

Lincoln Chafee: Served as senator, governor of Rhode Island and mayor of Warwick. Political philosophy is evolving. In Senate was Republican, ran for governor as independent, became Democrat in 2013, while governor. (Could he join Sanders as a socialist?) Chose not to run for reelection as governor in Democratic primary; many thought he could not win.

Was only Republican senator to vote against the Iraq War. Tougher than O’Malley or Webb on Clinton’s vote to authorize the war in Iraq. “Anybody who voted for the Iraq War should not be president, and certainly anybody who voted for the Iraq War should not lead the Democratic Party into an election,” he said.

Criticized Clinton's term as secretary of state: “Kind of a muscular, top-down, unilateral, too close to neo-cons, too Bush-like” and yielded very few accomplishments.

Campaign website features endorsement from former Democratic Sen. Robert Byrd, five years after Byrd died.

Andrew Cuomo: Governor of New York, former New York attorney general and U.S. secretary of housing and urban development (under President Clinton).

Eldest son of late Mario, much revered national Democrat. Ran father’s winning campaign for governor.

Signed state’s Marriage Equality Act, legalizing same-sex marriages.

In wake of Sandy Hook school massacre, signed what he called toughest gun control law in the country.

Created Moreland Commission to investigate state corruption. The New York Times found the governor’s office repeatedly interfered with the panel’s work when it looked into matters involving Cuomo. Killed commission halfway into its originally planned existence.

Mark Warner: Current senator and former governor of Virginia.

Website says he “amazed observers when he convinced Republican-controlled state legislature [including three dozen Republicans who had signed no-new-tax pledges] to vote for the largest tax hike in the state’s history” to rebuild state’s dilapidated schools. Turned $6 billion budget shortfall into a $1 billion surplus.

First in family to graduate from college, 4.0 GPA at George Washington University in D.C.; graduated from Harvard Law School, where he coached the first women’s intramural basketball team.

Shrewd telecommunications investor, amassed fortune estimated at $250 million. Big fan of NASCAR racing.

Keynote speaker at 2008 Democratic National Convention. Said to be charismatic and dynamic, adept at reading crowds.

Dan Payne is a Democratic political analyst for WBUR and a contributor to The Boston Globe.


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Dan Payne Democratic Political Analyst
Dan Payne is a Democratic political analyst for WBUR.



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