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Is this the man who can beat Hilary?

November 16th, 2005
    Mark Warner 8/1 for the Democrat nomination and 40/1 to be President

Every time we’ve discussed the next US White House race in recent months one of PB.C’s most long-standing contributors, Ben, has advised that a warner border.jpgkey person to watch for the Democrat nomination is the outgoing Governor of Virginian and former cellphone tycoon, Mark Warner.

This always seemed odd because in the regular US polls Warner was not even listed as one of the potential challengers – or was attracting support of just 1%. Until I raised it with them yesterday because I was planning this article Warner was not even in the list of options on Bet365 – one of the few conventional bookies offering prices on who will get the nomination.

They came back with a price of 8/1 – which might be tempting given that on the Betfair betting exchange Warner has now moved to second favourite, behind Hilary Clinton, at 3/1. All this is on the back of an exceptional performance for Democrats in last week’s election for Warner’s replacement.

This is from the latest issue of Time Magazine. “… The man who was the biggest factor in the closely watched Virginia Governor’s race last week wasn’t even on the ballot. And that’s why Democrats are starting to think that outgoing Virginia Governor Mark Warner may finally have figured out what it will take for their party to start winning in the South again. All sides agreed the morning after the election that what carried Lieutenant Governor Tim Kaine to victory–in a state that hasn’t voted for a Democrat for President since L.B.J.–was Warner’s popularity. Part of it is style: Warner won narrowly in 2001 by courting gun owners and working the NASCAR circuit, even though he grew up in the New England state of Connecticut and is worth some $200 million. But the real political miracle is the fact that Virginians have only grown to love him more as he has slashed popular programs and raised taxes.”

    For there’s little doubt that if the Democrats are to re-gain the White House they have to find a way of winning in the South – and having a popular ex-governor from Virginia, might fit the bill.

Until now all the focus has been on Hilary Clinton who remains an odds-on favourite and has a very clear lead in the polls. But she is a devisive figure and faced with a serious challenge from someone with a proven track record in the South might be vulnerable.

For the Republicans the ex-Mayor or New York, Rudolf Giuliani, tops the betting and the polls. But moving up is Condoleezza Rice who is 7/1.

Although the 2008 race might seem a long way off possible challengers will need to be declaring themselves within eighteen months. As for the betting the prices do not seem very generous – given the time you would have to wait to pick up any winnings.

For me the best bet is the 40/1 bookmaker price that’s available on Warner to be the next President. Even though it is three years ahead this price makes a small wager seem attractive.

Mike Smithson






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