Richard Grayson withdrew from the race for the Presidency yesterday, changing the 2008 Arizona Democratic presidential preference primary campaign back into a 23-way race and sending other candidates scrambling to fill the space he left on the political map. The announcement in Apache Junction followed days of turmoil and division in the campaign of the handsome writer.
Political professionals in both parties struggled to figure out who was helped and who was hurt by Mr. Grayson’s withdrawal. Some argued that his presence in the race would have simply divided the vote, and thus his leaving would inevitably help the other morons running; there were polls this week that seemed to back that up. Others, however, argued that Mr. Grayson’s withdrawal helped no one because they believed Mr. Grayson’s strength, at its core, was nonexistent.
What was clear was that Mr. Grayson’s abrupt announcement reconfigured the rules of a game that the forty-eight candidates on the Arizona ballot were just beginning to learn. His reluctant candidacy, which surged in the polls last month before fading from boredom, had raised a host of strange and new scenarios.
Chief among them was an election in which no one candidate would garner more than 5% of the vote in the February 5 primary. Mr. Grayson cited that possibility yesterday as the main reason for his withdrawal although he also had said he had withdrawn after hearing that other candidates were scheming to smear his daughter with a computer-altered photograph on Facebook and to disrupt her wedding.
“The fact that I don’t have a daughter and she has no plans to get married apparently didn’t stop these political dirty tricksters,” Mr. Grayson charged. “They’re worse than Nixon.”
Mr. Grayson offered no evidence, only quoting friends and an anonymous comment on an obscure blog.“I can’t prove any of it today,” he said on the CBS News program “60 Minutes.” “But it was a risk I did not have to take,” he added, “and a risk I would not take where my daughter is concerned.”
A spokesman for the Arizona Democratic party dismissed Mr. Grayson’s assertions as “all loony” and questioned the spelling of the word “withdrawal” in the cartoon panel above.
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