I’ve had the chance to talk to some politicos about Don Bivens and his decision to drop out of the race this morning.
Some folks thought that he should have taken his name out back when Richard Carmona declared in November. It made sense for Bivens not to do that back then. After all, he had already assembled a strong campaign team (Democratic pros Reed Adamson and Jamie Paton were on board) and had a decent list of endorsers. Given Carmona’s reluctance to get in the campaign and rushed roll-out, Bivens had good reason to think that the guy wasn’t going to be the real deal.
Back then, by the way, there was talk that some party elder woud talk Bivens out of running. I haven’t heard that that actually happened, but Ann Kirkpatrick backing off of her endorsement and increasing attention being given to Carmona made much the same point.
Many of the folks I talked to pointed out that the reporting period is just about up and that Bivens’s report wasn’t going to look that great. We won’t know this for sure until reports are posted.
The more likely reason, and it’s the reason alluded to in Bivens own exit statement, is that he had only one path to the nomination: trash Carmona and spend a lot of money doing it. Bivens stepped just short of that line, trying to bill himself as the real Democrat against the independent that worked for George W. Bush, questioning Carmona’s commitment to Democratic issues. The message wasn’t working, and ratcheting it up would have crossed that line between contrast and negativity. Such a “scorced earth” campaign would have left one of two nominees: a broke Don Bivens or a tattered Richard Carmona. Neither would have been good for the party.
I was a vocal critic of Bivens during his time as party chair (that was me that printed the “Eckerstrom” stickers in 2009), but it looks like he took one for the team here.