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Campaigns are being “suspended” in presidential primaries

Posted on Wednesday, February 17, 2016 at 10:21 am

General Manager/Editor Ron Schott

General Manager/Editor Ron Schott

In the past couple of weeks, several presidential candidates have decided to “suspend their campaigns” in running for the top office in the world.
Recently, Former Gov. Martin O’Malley “suspended his campaign” in the Democrat race after he realized he couldn’t gain enough momentum running against Sen. Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton.
Just last week, Gov. Chris Christie, Carly Fiorina, and Jim Gilmore each “suspended their campaigns” in the Republican race.
So in knowing that these candidates have announced they are no longer running for presidency, I often wondered why it’s called “suspending a campaign” and not just “dropping out?”
To me, to suspend something does imply some sort of a return.
Remember kids getting suspended at school? If they were expelled, they couldn’t come back. If they were suspended, they just had to serve their punishment and then they were able to resume being a regular student. They did this of course without ever losing their status as a student.
One definition of the word suspend is “temporarily prevent from continuing or being in force or effect.” It also means “defer or delay of an action, event, or judgment.”
Apparently, CNN answered this question for others like me in 2012 with an article called “Suspending vs. Dropping Out-What’s the Difference?”
In the article, it is noted that federal law does not officially recognize the “suspending” of a campaign. Federal law does however consider a person a candidate until he/she officially terminates or closes their campaign account or publicly states he/she is no longer a candidate.
So at the end of the day, it’s all about money. That’s a big surprise.
By merely suspending their campaign, candidates can still raise money to pay off expenses for shutting-down things for good.
Sen. John McCain suspended his campaign in 2008 so he could return to Congress to work on the financial crisis. Once a deal was hammered out, he ended his suspension and returned to the race.
I credit my former editor Joe Hadsall, who is now serving on staff at the Joplin Globe, for seeking answers to something that I’ve had questions about for a long time.
It’s time for me to “suspend” my efforts in writing an editorial. Perhaps I’ll try writing a new one next week.