And then there were none — or maybe one

When Rudy Giuliani officially announced his withdrawal from the race for the Republican presidential nomination yesterday, a field once crowded with Catholic candidates became nearly bereft of them. Only Republican candidate Alan Keyes remains, but he has not gained enough support — financial or otherwise — to be included in candidate debates or to receive federal campaign funding.

The role of Catholic candidates in the 2008 race is a topic we’ve explored twice before — earlier this month and last February. (As an aside, one reader noticed that we failed to mention Ron Paul among the Republican candidates. For the record, he’s a Baptist.)

As the nation’s primaries continue and the likely nominees emerge, discussion of Catholic candidates might begin at another level. Among those mentioned as Democratic vice-presidential possibilities are an early campaign dropout, Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack, and a more recent one, New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson.

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