Chapter XXXIII: July 2007.
Chapter Thirty Three:The fundraising numbers for the second quarter gave new insight into the state of the race; though his lead over conservative George Allen had narrowed, Jeb Bush's network of support ensured his campaign was well funded throughout. Other candidates reported large fundraising hauls, with George Allen taking in large amounts of donations from various Tea Party organizations and individual donors. Mitt Romney largely self funded his campaign, though his candidacy nonetheless inspired enough of his friends in corporate America to give generously to his candidacy. The insurgent candidacy of Ron Paul was sustained by the use of the internet to reach fundraising records, with Paul supporters raising millions as part of online “money bombs” within a twenty-four hour periods. Others were not so lucky; Newt Gingrich’s campaign appeared listless, and the former Speaker was unable to raise the $30 million goal he had publicly set when he announced his campaign. John McCain’s woes were even worse; with minimal funds and decreasing poll numbers, the Arizona Senator parted ways with top campaign staff in an attempt to revitalize his candidacy. The Senator was even photographed departing a plane in New Hampshire unaccompanied and carrying his own bags. It took only one more week before the Senator saw the writing on the wall, and he subsequently pulled out of the race. McCain’s candidacy was the first to end, and though his career was far from over, his presidential dreams were dashed for good. Declining to endorse a specific candidate, McCain vowed to back the eventual nominee.
Senator McCain's candidacy sputtered out in July.
Senator McCain's candidacy sputtered out in July.
Another July dropout was former Senator Mike Gravel, who endorsed Dennis Kucinich’s primary challenge against President Kerry. While Kucinich continued his quixotic campaign as a Democrat, there were rumors circulating around Washington that the Green Party was making overtures to Kucinich to consider campaigning in the general election as their nominee. The offer was tempting for the Ohio Congressman, but he ultimately declined in order to continue to serve in Congress unimpeded. Kucinich's firm refusal to seek the Green Party nomination left the party in a void; there were some who desired to draft Ralph Nader, who had run in 1996 and 2000 as their nominee (as well as an independent in 2004), but his relations with the party were soured in recent years. The party's 2004 Vice Presidential candidate Pat LeMarche announced her candidacy, but outside of Maine, she had a very low profile which failed to excite much enthusiasm.
The Republican candidates took to the debate stage once more, with CNN and YouTube hosting a debate in Jacksonville, Florida. Rick Perry made waves, with many commenting afterwards that the Texas Governor’s performance was considerably more alert and assertive on stage compared to his previous appearances. Jeb Bush came under fire from Governor Huckabee for funding programs that in some cases were tied to Planned Parenthood, while Speaker Gingrich struggled to defend many of his proposed programs when Governor Romney challenged his budget numbers. Senator Sam Brownback meanwhile begins to intrude upon Huckabee's territory when he makes a direct appeal to Evangelical voters, quoting Solzhenitsyn as he lamented the "liberal Godlessness" of Kerry's administration in a segment that would later be lampooned on Saturday Night Live. While internet polls again declared Congressman Paul the winner, most pundits showered Governors Perry and Romney with praise. Many viewers on call in programs on talk radio and C-SPAN noted that Senator Brownback seemed to have "more fire in the belly" than Huckabee as his profile rises after his debate breakthrough.
Terrorism was not just a subject in the Republican debates; in Britain, a car bomb driven into the terminal of Glasgow Airport failed to fully explode, leaving the suicide bomber dead and only four others injured. Scotland Yard began a nationwide investigation as Al Qaeda claimed credit for the attack, but they were too late. Just days later, two car bombs exploded outside crowded nightclubs, killing 54 people and injuring over a hundred more. In response, British planes bomb several known Al Qaeda training camps in Afghanistan with the help of American weaponry. It was widely reported that Prince Harry has taken part in the mission in response to the 2007 London attacks, which helped spark a sense of patriotic fever in Britain. Gordon Brown began preparing to call a snap election just a few weeks into his Premiership, capitalizing on the "rally around the flag" effect that was underway in the wake of the bombings. But the Labour Party was not the only political party in the United Kingdom that was seeing an uptick in support. Angered by the attacks in London, thousands of right-wing voters turn towards the British National Party, which controversially demanded a moratorium on immigration from the Muslim world among other policies.
Scandal took hold in Washington after the arrest of “the D.C. Madame,” Deborah Palfrey, who ran a high dollar escort ring in the capital. Upon investigation, it was revealed that many men in Washington had used her services, with Senator David Vitter (R-LA) being among the most notable caught up in the scandal. Facing growing pressure from Senator McConnell, the Senator publicly apologized to his family but refused to resign from the body. The investigation into the prostitution ring caused many of Washington’s most powerful men to have sleepless nights, but Palfrey's arrest was only the beginning. In Minneapolis, Senator Larry Craig (R-ID) is arrested for trying to solicit sex from an undercover cop in an airport bathroom. Afterwards, while dealing with police investigators, the Senator handed a detective his business card which identified him as a Senator. When news broke about the Senator’s arrest, he initially defended himself as being a “wide man” who was “not gay” and “never had been gay.” Ultimately, the Senator would announce his decision to not seek reelection in 2008.
2008 Republican Primary (Nationwide)
Jeb Bush: 26%
George Allen: 24%
Rudy Giuliani: 15%
Mitt Romney: 12%
Mike Huckabee: 6%
Ron Paul: 5%
Sam Brownback: 5%
Newt Gingrich: 2%:
Rick Perry: 2%
George Pataki: 1%
Duncan Hunter: 1%
Tom Tancredo: 1%