Picking up on a point I made Monday, when Iowa Democrats complain that Hillary Clinton should face an early primary challenger, remember to explore their motives. Ed Kilgore, of Talking Points Memo, made an excellent observation this morning:
State Democratic officials also want a contested race because that boosts the party apparatus and fundraising. Mr. Obama’s 2008 campaign attracted scores of volunteers who remain active in the party. Various presidential hopefuls, moreover, serve as star attractions for fundraising dinners and barbecue cookouts across the state.
John Stone, party chairman in Cerro Gordo County, throws the annual Wing Ding supper in Clear Lake in August. When Mr. Obama spoke there in 2007, he drew nearly 700 people, with attendees paying $25 a ticket to benefit local candidates in 17 northern Iowa counties. Without a big name, the dinner draws closer to 400 people, Mr. Stone said.
There’s only one reason to enter a presidential primary: to win it! If some random Democrat is entering the field to influence Hillary Clinton or to raise money or to highlight some liberal cause — than it’s a misguided attempt. Moreover, it’s ridiculous to prop up a losing candidate simply to raise money for the state party. By definition, a national election is for the benefit of the national party. If a state party wants to raise money, than its gubernatorial nominee should lead that effort.