William Weld

Intriguing news from the state of New York. William Weld, partner in a Manhattan investment firm, is to seek the Republican nomination for governor. With incumbent, George Pataki, and former mayor Rudi Giuliani ruling themselves out, Weld has a strong chance of winning the nomination and is likely to run a competitive race. What makes this particularly interesting is that Weld is a former governor of Massachusetts. If elected, he will be the first person elected to govern more than one state since Sam Houston, a former governor of Tennessee, was elected governor of Texas in 1858.

Weld is controversial in the Republican Party for extending Ronald Reagan's famous remark and saying he wanted to keep the government "off the backs, out of the pockets and out of the bedrooms of the American people". He supports choice in matters of both abortion and education, marking him out from both major parties.

But quite apart from the fact that he is an interesting candidate, is the fact that this is an interesting candidacy. In every other field of endeavour it is perfectly normal to fill a vacancy by looking for a candidate who has done a similar job elsewhere. You want someone to run a big oil company? Look for someone who has run a smaller one. The same goes for voluntary organisations, universities and sports teams. Why should it be different in politics? You want someone to run a big state? Find someone who has run a smaller one.

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