Mayoral Endorsement Guide

With Super Tuesday finally here, I'm willing to make the barely controversial suggestion that neither party's presidential nomination will hinge on endorsements and the completely ...
by | February 5, 2008

Endorse_2 With Super Tuesday finally here, I'm willing to make the barely controversial suggestion that neither party's presidential nomination will hinge on endorsements and the completely uncontroversial suggestion that mayoral endorsements in particular won't be a critical factor.

So why am I about to tell you about the endorsements from mayors in the nation's 50 most populous cities?

As I've argued before, endorsements say at least a little about the endorsees and a lot of about the endorsers.

The full list is below, but first a few thoughts:

* Clinton and Obama are tied with nine endorsements each from mayors in the 50 largest cities. Clinton gets the edge because her boosters represent more people than Obama's (9.1 million to 7.3 million), thanks in large part to Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. If Michael Bloomberg entered the race, he'd immediately surpass Obama (but not Clinton) in population, assuming he endorsed himself.

* Unsurprisingly, the Republicans don't do nearly as well. McCain is supported by four mayors and Romney two.

* The mayoral endorsements are interesting when considered against the backdrop of the racial and generational divides that have emerged on the Democratic side. Washington, D.C.'s Adrian Fenty favors Obama, as do other young black mayors such as Newark's Cory Booker and Youngstown's Jay Williams, who serve in cities that didn't make my population threshold. Older black politicians including Oakland's Ron Dellums and Memphis' Willie Herenton support Clinton.

That said, Michael Nutter was elected mayor of Philadelphia last year in an election heralded for transcending race. In the Democratic primary, Nutter, who's black, did nearly as well among white voters as black voters. That storyline might make him sound like an Obama guy, but Nutter favors Clinton.

* The two black women on my list, Atlanta's Shirley Franklin and Baltimore's Sheila Dixon, both favor Obama.

* As the Washington Post's Joel Achenbach has pointed out, Boston Mayor Thomas Menino may win a reputation as a giant killer after today. Menino backs Clinton, while Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick and the state's two U.S. senators, John Kerry and Ted Kennedy, prefer Obama. Most polls show Clinton ahead.

Don't get too caught up with Menino's significance, though -- Boston is less than 10 percent of Massachusetts' population. If Clinton wins, the real story may be the irrelevance of endorsements.

* I can point you to one mayoral endorsement that, at least circumstantially, seems to have swayed voters. Jacksonville's John Peyton backed Romney. As you can see here, Romney's strongest performance in Florida was in the Jacksonville area. That could have more to do with Northeast Florida being one of the most conservative parts of the state, however.

* Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon backs McCain, which wouldn't be news except for one detail: Gordon is a Democrat. As the Arizona Republic has noted, Gordon's penchant for backing Republicans may hinder his future political ambitions.

Continue reading for the full list of endorsements.

City                         Mayor                       Endorsement

Albuquerque            Martin Chavez             Clinton

Arlington, TX            Robert Cluck               None

Atlanta                    Shirley Franklin           Obama

Austin                     Will Wynn                    None

Baltimore                 Sheila Dixon                Obama

Boston                    Thomas Menino            Clinton

Charlotte                 Pat McCrory                 None

Chicago                   Richard Daley               Obama

Cleveland                Frank Jackson              None

Colorado Springs      Lionel Rivera              Romney

Columbus                Michael Coleman          Obama

Dallas                     Tom Leppert                None

Denver                   John Hickenlooper         None

Detroit                   Kwame Kilpatrick          None

El Paso                   John Cook                    None

Fort Worth             Mike Moncrief               None

Fresno                    Alan Autry                   McCain

Honolulu                 Mufi Hannemann          None

Houston                  Bill White                    None

Indianapolis            Greg Ballard                 None

Jacksonville            John Peyton                 Romney

Kansas City            Mark Funkhouser           None

Las Vegas               Oscar Goodman            None

Long Beach             Bob Foster                   Obama

Los Angeles            Antonio Villaraigosa      Clinton

Louisville               Jerry Abramson             None

Memphis                Willie Herenton            Clinton

Mesa                     Keno Hawker                None*

Miami                     Manny Diaz                 Clinton

Milwaukee              Tom Barrett                Obama

Minneapolis            R.T. Rybak                 Obama

Nashville                Karl Dean                    None

New York City        Michael Bloomberg       None

Oakland                 Ron Dellums                Clinton

Oklahoma City       Mick Cornett                None

Omaha                  Mike Fahey                  None**

Philadelphia           Michael Nutter             Clinton

Phoenix                 Phil Gordon                 McCain

Portland, OR         Tom Potter                  None

Sacramento           Heather Fargo             Clinton

San Antonio           Phil Hardberger           None

San Diego             Jerry Sanders               McCain

San Francisco        Gavin Newsom            Clinton

San Jose               Chuck Reed                 None

Seattle                  Greg Nickels               Obama

Tucson                  Bob Walkup                McCain

Tulsa                    Kathy Taylor                None***

Virginia Beach       Meyera Oberndorf        None

Washington, D.C.   Adrian Fenty              Obama

Wichita                 Carl Brewer                 None

* Hawker has contributed money to McCain, but hasn't formally endorsed him, so far as I can tell.

** Fahey has contributed money to Obama, Dodd and Richardson

*** Taylor has given money to Obama, but has not endorsed him officially.

Josh Goodman
Josh Goodman  |  Former Staff Writer
mailbox@governing.com  | 

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