The Fringe: Presidential candidates you've never heard of.

A campaign blog.
Oct. 26 2007 6:05 PM

The Fringe, Part 5

Presidential candidates you've never heard of.

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Oct. 25, 2007

The assassination primary: One of the best ways for a politician to boost his popularity is to get assassinated. It worked for Lincoln, it worked for Kennedy. (And who doesn't adore James Garfield?) Even better is an assassination attempt. That way, you get to enjoy the good press. Just ask Ronald Reagan. Best of all, though, is an assassination attempt attempt. Someone thought you were worth killing, but didn't follow through, giving you all the cred but none of the scars. Apparently that's what happened to Rudy Giuliani.

It turns out a group of New York crime bosses nearly voted to whack Giuliani back in 1986, when he was a U.S. attorney prosecuting cases against the mob. The heads of five families voted 3 to 2 to spare him, according to testimony Wednesday at the trial of an FBI agent in Brooklyn. "That was one vote I won I guess," Giuliani told radio host Mike Gallagher today.

For someone cultivating an image as the toughest candidate in the Republican pool, it doesn't hurt for voters to know some bad guys wanted you dead. (Imagine what it would do for Rudy's campaign if Osama bin Laden released a video begging the American people not to elect him.) Giuliani has also gone out of his way to act presidential, meeting with leaders from Gordon Brown to Jalal Talabani and pitching himself as a foreign-policy savant. A would-be assassination attempt—even one that took place years ago—only solidifies the image.

People say Giuliani values loyalty. Maybe he should hire the three guys who voted to spare him. Vote Giuliani: an offer you can't refuse.

Posted by Christopher Beam, Oct. 25, 5:08 p.m. (link) (discuss) (tips)

Nevada. Click image to expand.

Caucus Neglect: As states wage war over which primary or caucus will be first in the nation, Nevada is being left behind. For the first time in its history, the Silver State will host the second caucus in the country on Jan. 19. And yet, nobody seems to care.

Slate's Map the Candidates tool shows an apathetic bunch of candidates. In total, they've only made 55 campaign stops in Nevada since July 1, according to their public schedules (excluding Duncan Hunter and Mike Gravel, who don't make their schedules public). That's both parties' tallies combined. To give some context, South Carolina has had 145 stops in that time period. New Hampshire? 415. Iowa? An obscene 966 stops! The candidates have even visited Florida 78 times, despite this summer's abstinence pledge from the top Democrats.

A closer look at the 55 Nevada stops reveals a heavy Democratic bias. All six of the first- and second-tier Democrats have stopped by the Silver State, but only Ron Paul and Mitt Romney have stumped for the GOP. Yes, more GOP candidates have visited Wyoming than Nevada. For what it's worth, Nevada GOP Executive Director Zac Moyle told me he was happy with the turnout and said several other candidates are coming in November.

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Why no love for Nevada? Initially, both parties booked Nevada's caucus earlier in the primary season so the state would serve as the election's gateway to the West. But then Nevada's neighbors California (90 visits since July 1), Utah, and Arizona set their primary dates to Feb. 5, which reduced Nevada's regional clout. Plus, polls for the Democrats show Hillary Clinton in command even though Bill Richardson is from nearby New Mexico and has spent the most time in the state. No excuses across the aisle, though. The GOP's numbers are much tighter than the Democrats', which makes the leading Republicans' absences even more glaring.