TPM Reader NB responds to our piece on the prominence of mayors in Obama’s re-election campaign:
I think the observation about mayoral surrogates is a good one, but
it’s ignoring the basic fact that there aren’t many popular Democratic
Partly that’s because there aren’t many popular governors,
period, but also because there aren’t many Democratic governors,
period. Of the 10 most populous states only four are run by Democrats:
New York, California, Illinois, and North Carolina.
None of those folks would really make for an effective spokesperson at the national level. And the story doesn’t get much better as you go down the list.
The first guy who seems to have any sort of transcendent popularity is Jay Nixon in Missouri, but at this point I bet he has no interested in being seen with Obama. That’s a problem, but it is what it is.
At the city level, though, you’ve still got some popular mayors, especially in places that are slowly coming out of the post-60s doldrums like Philly, I don’t know much about the Twin Cities but maybe things are going well there.
For the mayors, supporting Obama is a no-brainer as even their white population is probably pro-Obama while the suburban voters are either netural or lukewarmly against
Obama depending on the city. So there isn’t much downside to them if they want to run statewide. Also some of the earlier crop of mayors — guys like John Hickenlooper in Denver or Martin O’Malley in Baltimore — have given mayors a template for “city-suburb reconciliation” and a way to run for statewide office by being a mayor who cater to both
city and suburban needs.