Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Originally, Governor Baker appeared as a potential candidate for the party's presidential nomination in the 2006 election, and he was said to be leading in the polls in both the Iowa caucus and the New Hampshire primary. Eventually, though, he announced that he would not seek the nomination for reasons involving his family. Former White House Deputy Chief of Staff Josh Lyman, the manager of Texas Congressman Matt Santos's bid for the nomination, voiced speculation at the time that Baker might not want to face off against Senator Arnold Vinick of California, an old friend of Baker's who was seeking the Republican Party's presidential nomination.
Prior to the 2006 Democratic National Convention, which was expected to be deadlocked, Baker was offered the vice presidential nomination by Vice President Bob Russell, who believed that making Baker his running-mate would bring him enough delegates from Pennsylvania and other states to defeat Representative Santos and former Vice President John Hoynes for the nomination.
Instead of accepting second place on a ticket headed by Russell, however, Baker decided that he would offer himself as a candidate for the nomination on the second ballot. Blue-and-white placards with the words "Draft Baker" emblazoned upon them flooded the floor of the convention, presumably thanks to Baker's operatives, as the first ballot's voting wound to a close, and Baker announced his intention to accept this faux draft to reporters on the convention floor. Almost immediately, a stampede of delegates to Baker, which came from all three of the other candidates, eliminated Hoynes from consideration and created a virtual tie between Russell, Santos, and Baker.
By the second day of the convention, Baker had taken the lead in the balloting and he seemed to be well on his way to taking the nomination by the following morning. However, news reached the media (implicitly, from the Russell campaign) that Baker's wife Dorothy had been twice hospitalized for clinical depression and that he had failed to disclose that fact to both the Russell campaign when he was under consideration for the vice-presidential nomination and to the convention when he presented himself as a candidate. Within minutes of this announcement, Baker's momentum stalled and the convention entered its third day without a clear nominee.
During the third day of balloting, Santos's rousing address to the convention, combined with the behind-the-scenes machinations of President Josiah Bartlet, shifted the momentum to him and he defeated Russell and Baker for the nomination. Not wanting to subject his wife to further public scrutiny, Baker again declined the vice presidential nomination when Santos offered it to him. Santos then selected former White House Chief of Staff Leo McGarry, who ironically enough had repeatedly demanded that Santos drop out of the race for the sake of party unity, as his running-mate.
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