John Edwards suspended his campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination on Wednesday, January 29, 2008. Edwards suspended his campaign as opposed to terminating it. His campaign staff claims that Edwards’ decision to suspend the campaign rather than terminate it was nothing more than legal terminology so that he can continue to receive federal matching funds for his campaign donations.
Given the debts that all the candidates accrue during their campaigns, this is quite plausible – but so is another, darker reason. Edwards may well desire to play Kingmaker (or Queenmaker) in 2008.
When Edwards resigned from the race he told reporters that he would meet again with Clinton and Obama before deciding whether to make an endorsement. He set no timetable for deciding whether to endorse either candidate. Unlike Giuliani’s endorsement of McCain, Edwards’ suspended campaign makes his endorsement a potentially very powerful bargaining chip.
In suspending his campaign – instead of terminating it – Edwards gets to keep all 26 delegates he won in: Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina. After he officially exits the race, 10 of those delegates will be dispersed to the other candidates, with Obama getting 6 and Clinton getting 4. Under Democratic National Party rules, Edwards will maintain a say in naming the other 16 delegates. Edwards had also collected endorsements from 30 of the 852 superdelegates.
If the Democratic race is too close, it could result in a Brokered Convention. Edward’s delegates would place him in a suddenly very powerful position within the DNP as whole and in regards to Hillary and Obama in particular.
Well, at least he has better hair than Cheney!