Ojeda’s Early Exit
The long-shot presidential candidacy of former West Virginia Democratic state Senator Richard Ojeda ended last week. Brief as it was – lasting just 76 days – Ojeda’s White House bid was not the shortest in the modern primary era. Since 1972, three other non-fringe major party presidential hopefuls had shorter stays on the campaign trail. Oklahoma Democratic U.S. Senator Fred Harris hung around for only 48 days from September to November 1971 when he ran for president in the 1972 cycle. Connecticut Republican U.S. Senator Lowell Weicker exited the 1980 race just 67 days after his campaign launched in March 1979. And, more recently, Wisconsin Republican Governor Scott Walker flamed out 71 days after his late entry into the 2016 race in mid-July 2015.
The next presidential campaign suspension occurred today (July 8). Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.), who launched his campaign on April 8, called it quits following the first primary debate, citing inauspicious polling and fundraising numbers. Swalwell will instead run for re-election to the House in 2020. His 91-day campaign was longer than ten others by major candidates (including Ojeda’s) since 1972, slightly longer than the 1976 campaign of Sen. Frank Church (D-Ida.), and slightly shorter than the 1972 campaign of Mayor John Lindsay (D-N.Y.). [Time will tell whether Mayor Bill de Blasio (D-N.Y.) will record a more successful presidential campaign by a New York City mayor than Lindsay or Rudy Giuliani.]