Graham vows to continue despite campaign troubles

Presidential hopeful examines new strategies

October 04, 2003|By Mark Silva | Mark Silva,ORLANDO SENTINEL

ORLANDO, Fla. - Florida Sen. Bob Graham continued vowing yesterday that his faltering presidential campaign would press on, even as senior advisers are resigning and his team is running short on cash.

Despite pressure from within his party to drop out of the race and run for re-election to his Senate seat, some experts say Graham could still wind up on the Democratic Party ticket next year.

"He's a very strong vice presidential candidate. I think everybody has thought that all along," said John McGlennon, professor of government at the College of William and Mary in Virginia. "His Florida strength is important."

As Graham assesses his campaign, two key advisers have told campaign managers that they are quitting the team.

Virginia-based consultants Steve Jarding and Dave "Mudcat" Saunders - architects of Graham's rural strategy - have informed the campaign that are leaving, a source close to the campaign said yesterday. Graham also lost one of his campaign spokesmen, Jamal Simmons, this week.

Facing a cash crunch, Graham is likely to pare staff further. Yet, insisting that he will carry on, Graham is weighing his options, such as continuing to focus on Iowa's first caucuses in January or perhaps concentrating on primaries in South Carolina and other Southern states in February.

He intends to appear today at a Democratic National Committee forum in Washington for presidential candidates.

The Orlando Sentinel is a Tribune Publishing newspaper.

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