Blogs > Cliopatria > Do Candidates to the Presidency Usually Give Up their Seats in Congress?

Jun 18, 2004 7:57 am

Do Candidates to the Presidency Usually Give Up their Seats in Congress?

Noelle Straub, in the Boston Herald (June 16, 2004):

If Sen. John F. Kerry lets history be his guide, he will not resign from the Senate - despite Republican howls of protest and his all-consuming quest for the White House.

``Senators do not give up their seats. That has not been the history,'' Senate Historian Richard Baker said.

``Particularly now, in this electronic age, when it's possible to stay in touch with your colleagues and staff. . . . The job of a senator is not necessarily just to be on the floor of the Senate.''

In the modern era, Sens. John F. Kennedy (D-Mass.), Barry Goldwater (R-Ariz.) and George McGovern (D-S.D.) all kept their seats after becoming the presidential nominee of their parties.

In 2000, Sen. Joseph Lieberman (D-Conn.) simultaneously ran for re-election and for the vice presidency.

Kerry spokesman Michael Meehan noted the ``long history'' of presidents running while in Senate.

``I know Republicans have been frustrated that they haven't been able to beat John Kerry for decades, but calling on him to quit isn't going to to work,'' he said.

Former Sen. Bob Dole (R-Kan.) stands as the only notable exception to the pattern. He gave up his position as Senate majority leader and his seat in order to pursue the Oval Office.

Yesterday, Dole encouraged Kerry to follow his lead.

But Baker noted Dole might not have resigned except for his leadership position, which put severe demands on his time.

``I assume if he had not been the majority leader that he might have found it possible, as the others in the past have, to continue his duties,'' Baker said.

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