Warner Ends Presidential Bid Before It Begins

By Erica Anderson

Oct 12, 2006 9:54am

ABC’s Mark Halperin reports: Two Democratic sources confirm to ABC News that former Gov. Mark Warner (D-VA) will announce today that he will not be a candidate for president in 2008.

Both sources say that Warner simply decided with his family that he didn’t want to make the commitment of time that would be required to run.

Since leaving office as the governor of Virginia last year, Mark Warner has spent a lot of time laying the groundwork for a planned 2008 presidential campaign.

Warner for months has traveled extensively (including to key early voting states like Iowa and New Hampshire), courted donors, met with policy experts, went overseas to burnish his foreign policy credentials, hired staff, and collected political chits.

He also received extensive national media coverage as a southern governor and successful businessman with a history of centrist positions.  He was rhetorically willing to take on the party’s presumed 2008 frontrunner, Hillary Clinton, more directly (if, still, mostly indirectly and privately) than the other potential candidates.

Associates of Warner say his decision not to seek the office is based solely on personal considerations.  His family was said to be unenthusiastic about the sacrifices involved in making the race.

Many analysts and Democrats had expected Warner to be one of the first candidates in either party to more formally enter the presidential race shortly after November’s midterm elections.  Democratic sources across the board expressed surprise Thursday morning about Warner’s expected announcement. 

While there will be much speculation in the coming days about which candidates might be helped by Warner’s decision — and about whether Sen. Clinton will effectively intimidate other candidates out of the race — it is far too soon to know about such things.

Warner is expected to make his announcement at 11:30 am ET at the Jefferson Hotel in Richmond, VA.

This is what Warner said to ABC’s George Stephanopoulos in January:

STEPHANOPOULOS:  What could stop you from running?

WARNER:  Well, I got a wife and three daughters, two of them teenagers, that this probably wouldn’t be the first choice for their dad.

STEPHANOPOULOS:  No?

WARNER:  No. Let me assure you, a 16- and a 14- and 11-year-old daughter having their dad who’s been pretty focused on the state, the whole notion of going down this path, we got a lot of family discussion.

I also got to make my own gut check.  But I do believe that I want to have my voice, whether I run or not run, I want to have my voice and some of my ideas as part of this debate.

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