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A group of high-ranking Kansas Democrats tried to woo Dan Glickman last weekend to run for senate in 2004, but the Institute of Politics (IOP) director insists that he’s going steady with Harvard.
When Third District Rep. Dennis Moore, D-Kan., announced that he would not seek a Senate spot at the party’s annual convention Saturday, Glickman’s name quickly surfaced as a potential frontrunner for the nomination.
And leading Democrats at the convention—including Moore—said they would be eager to support his candidacy.
Many in his home state see Glickman, a former Cabinet member, as the best candidate to challenge incumbent Senator Sam Brownback, R-Kan., in the 2004 race.
“I think he would give Sam a run for his money,” said Patrick Murray, executive director of the Kansas State Democratic Party.
Kansas is a solidly Republican state which hasn’t elected a Democrat to the Senate since 1932.
The incumbent has held his seat since 1996, when Bob Dole left to pursue an unsuccessful presidential run.
Despite pressure from party leaders, Glickman said he is not interested in entering the 2004 race, and he is not raising any of the money he would need to fund a viable campaign.
Glickman said that he is enjoying his current job, but he maintained that a future Senate run is still possible. Glickman has only been at Harvard for a year—he began his term as director of the IOP at the beginning of this academic year.
Though he said that he is enjoying his current job, Glickman added that he would “never close the door forever” on a Senate bid.
Kansas Democratic Party officials said Glickman would likely be successful in a future Senate run.
Glickman boasts an impressive resumé—after an 18-year career in the House of Representatives, he was appointed Secretary of Agriculture in 1995 and served through the end of the Clinton administration.
Even though he now works halfway across the country from his home state, party leaders hold him in high regard—praising his accomplishments in Washington—and they say he has the broad appeal that would be necessary to beat Brownback.
“Not only Democrats, but Kansans really love him,” Murray said.
At the conference last weekend, Glickman was warmly received in informal meetings with many groups ranging from grassroots activists to senior officials, Murray said.
People were “thrilled to meet him” Murray said, with some making it a “special point” to meet with him.
R. Gerard McGeary ’04, the president of the Harvard College Democrats, said his group was equally enthusiastic about the possibility of “Senator” Glickman.
“We think that he’d be a fantastic senator in Congress,” he said, adding that students in the group who are also members of the IOP “have nothing but good things to say about Glickman.”
For the time being, Glickman maintains that the IOP will remain his professional home.
But he said he doesn’t necessarily intend to stay off the ballot for good.
“I still have a long time to go,” he said.
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