Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Working the Fringe with Duncan Hunter

Over at The New Republic, editor Eve Fairbanks spends some time on the road with Duncan Hunter as he campaigns for the Republican Nomination. It has been a difficult time for the Hunter campaign as it tries to crack into the mainstream of the GOP presidential race. But in his case even cracking into the fringe appears to be a high hurdle for the campaign overcome. In the article titled "Plain Nuts" she portrays the campaign as:

traditionally ... people running for president with no support in the polls "vanity candidates." The Duncan Hunter campaign for the Republican nomination, though, feels more like the antidote to vanity.[Link]
She describes Hunter riding in a white convertible Corvette in a Veterans Day parade in Reno.

The parade's organizers have assigned him a slot at the end of the march, putting him behind Dennis Kucinich supporters, people banging saucepans in memory of Molly Ivins, a hayride truck filled with senior citizens labeled MARTIANS FOR PEACE, and, worst of all, a troupe of five cavalry re-enactors on horseback. Hunter, a military equipment nut, enjoyed hanging out with the cavalrymen before the parade, but, once they set off, their horses begin pooping profusely along the route. As Hunter's convertible starts to roll, it streaks piles of hot yellow horse dung under its wheels. "Eeewie!" a child screams.[Link]
Hunter isn't your typical fringe candidate. He does have an affable personality but has struggled to gain traction in the race.

A friend of Hunter once described him as "Pat Buchanan with a smile." Hunter has struggled just to break into the fringe. He has raised half as much money as Tom Tancredo and netted half the major-paper mentions of Dennis Kucinich over the past year. Apparently, becoming a successful marginal presidential candidate is harder than it looks.

* * *

But Hunter is not only too fringe to be mainstream; with his mild manner and good cheer, he is also too mainstream to be fringe.[Link]
With the California less 60-days away, I suspect that Duncan Hunter will be withdrawing from the presidential race the day after the primary. Maybe, he can make his concession speech from in front of the Midway aircraft carrier much like he did his announcement to run.

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