Santos/McGarry for a Brighter America was the 2006 presidential campaign for the Democratic Party. Its candidate was Representative Matthew Santos from Texas, and his running mate was former White House Chief of Staff and Secretary of Labor Leo McGarry from Illinois. In the Democratic presidential primary election, 2006 Democratic primaries, the campaign was known simply as "Matthew Santos for President".



Matt Santos speaking at a rally

A Strong Economy: Every American should have the opportunity to work and succeed. I believe that our nation is stronger when we create jobs here, not ship them overseas. I believe in rewarding the middle-class with tax breaks rather than ever-expanding credit-card bills. We can work together to create the jobs of tomorrow – to fulfill the promise of the American Dream.

A Secure Nation: America was born of a far-flung idea: that truly free people could and would govern themselves with peace. Today, America works to promote that same ideal around the world. I will strive to preserve a strong and safe country, one that leads but also lends a hand to neighbors in need. We can accomplish this by building a strong military and maintaining an even stronger sense of diplomacy.

A Better Education: Education is the foundation of our country's future, and I believe that every child should be given the chance to flourish in our schools. Every school should have access to necessary resources; every classroom should be guided by a great teacher. From the availability of Head Start and after-school programs to the affordability of college, our children should be able to make the most of their potential.[1]


The Dream Candidate

While not officially the start of the Santos Campaign, its beginnings hail to an incident in 2005. As Congressman Matt Santos settled on a decision to retire from Congress, he walked away from his Patient's Bill of Rights, opting to join a similar bill on the Republican side and successfully making major revisions to it to gain considerable Democratic support. Throughout the process, Josh Lyman acting as the White House liason tryed to push Santos into continuing to work on his original legislation. However, upon realizing the effect of Congressman Santos' changes, Josh recognized the genius of Santos' decision and started petitioning the Congressman to remain in government.

Shortly thereafter, Senator Arnold Vinick of California announced his candidacy for the Republican nomination for President. His first press conference impressed several staffers in the White House for his skill and intelligence, greatly concerning Josh about whether the Democrats had a candidate that could beat him. This was further compounded when Governor Baker of Pennsylvania, the front runner despite being undeclared, officially declared that he would not run for President due to his, "promise to the people of Pennsylvania", which is a smokescreen for his true reason, his personal friendship with Senator Vinick. This left Vice President Bob Russell and former Vice President John Hoynes as the front runners. Josh had already been asked by both campaigns to join them as the campaign manager but Josh indicated that he didn't want to be a part of either campaign going as far as telling Will Bailey "I don't want Bob Russell to be President".

Leo McGarry encouraged Josh to find someone he could support and to run that person as Leo had done with Jed Bartlet. Josh instantly thought of Santos and flew to Houston to speak with the Congressman over the Christmas holidays to ask the Congressman to run in time for the New Hampshire filing deadline. The following week, Santos agreed to Josh's proposal under the condition that Josh became his campaign manager - a deal that, with encouragement from Leo, Josh accepted.

New Hampshire

The campaign had a rocky start. While Josh tried to run Santos like he would run a normal campaign, the Congressman had his own ideas about what a campaign should be. He immediately began discussing an education plan with voters in New Hampshire that would increase the days in the school year from 180 to 240 and remove tenure for teachers. With New Hampshire having no income tax and an underfunded education program, most residents were opposed to these ideas as they didn't feel this could be afforded. These problems were further compounded when a quote surfaced of that Santos had made 8 years earlier criticizing New Hampshire being the first to vote; Santos said he believed the New Hampshire primary shouldn't come first because "The state's as diverse as a Mayflower reunion."

As this was going on, Josh felt a need to create a question about Bob Russell's legitimacy as the natural successor to the Bartlet administration and began looking for a way to imply that Santos has the support of the Bartlet family. Initially, he tried to have Doug Westin, Bartlet's son-in-law who was running for Congress in New Hampshire's first district, to do a campaign stop with them. This, however, backfired when Westin criticized Santos at the stop for his so-called Mayflower Quote, to the fury of both his wife and father-in-law. However, Santos' decision to discuss Education made it the first issue of the Primaries and impressed several members of the Bartlet family including the President who offered them some free statistics and Elizabeth Bartlet, Westin's wife, who donated the maximum amount to the Santos campaign, becoming the first major contributor to their campaign and having a member of the Bartlet family on the public list of campaign donors.



Our latest bump in the Illinois polls sent us all packing for the Windy City, home of the Bears, the Cubs, and, most importantly, our very own Leo McGarry. Judging by the crowd turnout, it’s clear that Chicago loves its native son. And after his performance in the VP debate, how could you not? His comments on tax policy and the country’s healthcare system hit it out of the park.

After Chi-town, we made one last trip to Houston before Election Day to remind Santos’s constituents how much they love him - and raise a little hometown dough in the process. It was a huge success. They can’t get enough of that guy down there – especially since the announcement that the Molecular Transport Lab is going to Texas. Nobody knows exactly what a Molecular Transport Lab does, but everyone seems pretty happy about it.

From Houston, we hopped next door to Phoenix then onto Kentucky. Now we’re on our way to “Rock the Vote” in Tampa, Florida, where everyone is hoping to catch some of those Sunshine State rays. And while I’m pretty sure sunbathing isn’t on the campaign schedule, I know we could all use a mini-vacation after our stop in Philly. The home of the cheesesteak was a little hard on the Santos staff; specifically, the young volunteer who tried to break the world record for number of cheesesteaks eaten in one day. I lost count after six. He lost everything else shortly after that. What can I say? Campaign life is terribly glamorous. I can’t wait to see what the next few weeks have in store…[2]


Well, it's been two days since the debate (affectionately named The Best Day Ever), and support for the Santos campaign has gone through the roof. The debate gave us a four-point bump in the polls, but that's just the beginning. Donations through our website have tripled since Sunday, the phones haven't stopped ringing, and our campaign rallies all over the country have been busting at the seams. I guess people are finally seeing the Congressman the way we see him – in the Oval Office!

Forgive us if we're all feeling a little like Jerry Maguire over here. Can't help it. We took some risks and they're finally paying off. Only 7 points down now. Show us the money!!!

We're especially pumped that the Congressman hit Vinick hard on border issues. Vinick thinks he can pretend to care about this stuff after so many years of negligence in the Senate, but Santos doesn't have to pretend. He's lived it. His family has lived it. To him it's not just a political power play.

We left LA on Monday morning and have been making stops all over the West and Southwest. Went to Portland (where it rained and was freezing), then to Arizona (where it was 97 degrees). It's getting to be that time of year where packing for a campaign trip becomes tricky.

Next week we'll be back in LA, probably staying at the same hotel again (one of those lovely joints near the airport), having the same luggage issues at LAX, and eating the same room service meals. I recommend the twelve-dollar oatmeal.[3]


We're in the middle of our mid-western swing, getting ready to leave Ohio and head to Michigan on Tuesday. Yes, another plane trip awaits! I'm beginning to forget what city I'm in when I wake up each morning – it's been such a whirlwind. And when someone told me it was Labor Day weekend, I couldn't believe it, it's all moving so fast.

Last night Congressman Santos wowed a crowd of teachers at the Akron Public Library. Since Education Week was so popular we've decided to spend some more time on what has proven to be a signature subject for Santos. Voters are really responding to his push to improve our public education.

Getting called away now to help get the Congressman ready for his hour with Ohio local press! Until next time…[4]


We're flying high! Quite literally at the moment. In the plane on our way from Pennsylvania to Iowa for a rally tomorrow. Then from there, we go to… I can't even remember. Schedules tend to change quickly when you have a plane at your disposal to take you anywhere at any hour. Three times in the last week, I've had to run full-speed through an airport, bags in one hand, stack of binders in the other. I can feel my old knee injury starting to act up (I tell my friends, most days it feels like I am twenty-five going on forty). Guess it's time to trade in the high heels for some comfortable shoes. Campaigns aren't for the faint of heart, kids!

Lots of momentum as we move out of Pennsylvania. It looks like there's been some movement in the polls after our Education Week. It started off slowly, with reporters swarming the Congressman with questions about intelligent design (just our luck – right when we got to Pennsylvania, the heat turned up on a case about whether religion should be taught in public schools alongside evolution.) The Congressman finessed the press like an old pro, shifting the spotlight onto Vinick, who then had to clarify his position on the issue. Let's just say he didn't do so great a job (his people had to end the Q and A, very bad sign here in campaign-land.) With Vinick refusing to make a clear comment, the press turned back to the Santos campaign for a story and started covering our Education Week full-force. Now all the Sunday morning shows want to talk to us. Leo McGarry's booked on a few of them already. Amazing, the power of a few simple words at this stage in the game. Go Congressman![5]


The Real Deal just keeps on soaring. On the heels last weekend's reserve drilling for the Marines, Matt Santos today addressed the Veterans of Foreign Wars, promoting his message that keeping this country safe is the Congressman's top priority. From there the Congressman was off to a Boeing Factory and a tour with workers and engineers. First I get the opportunity to see the Congressman pilot an F-A-18 Hornet, and next I'm inside the belly of a C-17, America's most advanced military cargo plane. Ah, the perks.

The plane (beast!) measures 174 feet long with a wingspan of 169 feet, 10 inches. According to workers, it has an unrefueled range of approximately 2,400 nautical miles and is designed to airdrop 102 paratroopers and equipment. During the tour, the Congressman stressed how adding more C-17s to the Air Force fleet will strengthen national security and bolster the economy. Two in five manufacturing companies say they can't expand because their workers don't have the right skills. You better believe the Congressman plans on keeping those jobs right here in America.

More to come during next week's "Education Week," when the Santos Campaign touches down at Pittson College in Pennsylvania.[6]


Notes and references

Santos/McGarry (D) | Vinick/Sullivan (R)
Atkins | Baker | Clarkson | Hoynes | Rafferty | Russell | Santos | two others
Allard | Bennett | Butler | Vinick | Walken | three others

Bartlet for America (2002)
Democratic Party Presidential Campaigns
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