Dark horses in the race

Jen Steer

It’s still more than a year and a half until the next presidential election, but it’s pretty much all I think about. And right now, it’s funny to see all the no-names come out of the woodwork who actually think they can win.

How do you expect to run for president when no one knows who you are? I know, the whole reason why people campaign is so the voters know who the candidates are. But let’s be honest, star quality matters, and if you don’t have name recognition, then you’re never going to have a chance to raise enough money, and you’ll never be president.

So here’s my list of the little-known names in the race for the White House. Good luck, because it’s going to be tough to keep up with the big kids.

Former Republican Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson may be in a position to actually influence the election and shape the ticket. He was governor for 14 years, so, odds are, he’s doing something right. The major strike against Thompson is not the fact that his name is Tommy Thompson, which was a poor choice on his parents’ part and we can’t blame him for it. Thompson has never had any suitable challengers for his office, so he’s not used to fundraising his butt off. He better get used to it quick, or he’ll easily be left in the dust.

Sen. Chuck Hagel, R-Neb., is pretty much the only person who has name recognition and is not a front-runner. Hagel is an influential member of the Republican party and that’s really hard to ignore. He would definitely make a worthy vice-presidential candidate. Since there are two heavy hitters, it’s more likely that Hagel would get a spot on the ticket only if he agreed to back off and let Sen. John McCain or Rudy Giuliani take center stage. However, as a critic of the war, he could lose a lot of core Republicans along the way. But that could be where he brings in more Democratic votes.

One Democrat who shows potential is former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack. In the age-old tradition of Democrats pointing out their humble beginnings, Vilsack takes the cake. While most Dems claim that they came from working class families, Vilsack was an orphan. How can you not like a guy who grew up in an abusive family and then became governor? And he knows his stuff too, which is a plus.

And there’s one more person I need to talk about just because I like to make fun of him. Democrat Rep. Dennis Kucinich is in the race and a lot of people, especially in Ohio (and mainly because he’s from here), know him. But the only reason why anyone knows who he is, is because he hit the Internet hard looking for a date. He hung in the race way too long last time around and was a major annoyance. Kucinich is the type of person who keeps network news commentators in a job because there is so much to make fun of him for. He’s a waste and a joke. Not to mention, he’s one of the craziest public speakers I’ve ever seen.

Jen Steer is a junior broadcast news major and a columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].