Byline: Greg Pierce, THE WASHINGTON TIMES
Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour said yesterday that he will not run for the Republican presidential nomination in 2008 because he is too busy with Hurricane Katrina's aftermath.
Instead, Mr. Barbour, 58, said he intends to seek a second term as governor in 2007.
"There's no way I could run for president and do what I've got to do as governor. And, obviously, being governor comes first," said the former Republican National Committee chairman, responding to questions from the Associated Press.
Mr. Barbour also dismissed the possibility of a run for vice president in 2008.
"Why would a Republican pick a running mate from Mississippi?" Mr. Barbour said, in his most definitive statement to date about his political future. "If a Republican doesn't carry Mississippi, he won't carry five states."
Months before Katrina struck New Orleans in neighboring Louisiana on Aug. 29, one of Mr. Barbour's longtime friends and former lobbying partners, Ed Rogers, generated buzz about a possible Barbour presidential run by registering two Web sites - haley2008.com and haleyforpresident.com.
Mr. Barbour defeated Democratic incumbent Ronnie Musgrove in 2003 to become Mississippi's second Republican governor since Reconstruction.
Scranton quits race
Bill Scranton dropped out of the Pennsylvania governor's race yesterday after it became clear that Republican Party leaders planned to endorse former Pittsburgh Steelers star Lynn Swann for the nomination.
Mr. Swann is seeking to become Pennsylvania's first black governor. Democratic Gov. Edward G. Rendell is running for a second term in November.
Mr. Swann had locked up more than enough unofficial support to win the endorsement of Republican leaders Saturday. The Republican primary is set for May 16.
Mr. Scranton, a wealthy businessman and former lieutenant governor whose father, William, was governor in the 1960s, said he had doubts about whether he could win over party leaders, the Associated Press reports.
Mr. Scranton's campaign ran into trouble two weeks ago when he fired his campaign manager for saying that Mr. Swann is "the rich white guy in this campaign." Mr. Scranton is white.
"Far away from the speeches of Jesse Jackson, the demands of Al Sharpton and the ranting of Louis Farrakhan, a quiet revolution is taking place in the role African-Americans play in politics," New York Post columnist Dick Morris writes.
"In the very heartland of the nation - in Pennsylvania and Ohio - the Republican Party is getting set to nominate black candidates for governor in the coming elections. In a nation that has not a single African-American governor - not one - from either party, this is its own little revolution," Mr. Morris said.
"These are not throwaway candidates in states where the GOP has no chance of victory. These are real candidates, chosen when there were plenty of white alternatives, that are en route to their party's nomination, with real chances to win.
"In Pennsylvania, former football great Lynn Swann stands poised to be designated as the Republican candidate at next week's State Convention. The former wide receiver for the Pittsburgh Steelers, now enshrined in the Hall of Fame, is seeking fame of another sort, trying to be the state's first black governor.
"In Ohio, a key swing state, Ken Blackwell, the Republican secretary of state, is running for the gubernatorial nomination in a state Republicans can win. …