Gore Locks in 2002

Al Gore, the man who got the most votes in the 2000 presidential election, is taking another big step toward a rematch with George W. Bush--with a little help from Washington Governor Gary Locke.

After Gore's fundraiser last Friday in a hip and trendy New York City club, starring the closest thing the Gore family has to hip and trendy--daughter Karenna Gore Schiff--Gore is heading to Memphis on June 28-29 to host a two-day retreat for his high-powered fundraisers and potential political supporters. One of the weekend's headliners is Governor Locke; other speakers include Democratic Campaign Committee Chair Nita Lowey, Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), and, of course, Al and Tipper.

Gore spokesperson Jano Cabrera said Locke was asked to speak to the group about Democratic prospects in governors' races around the country this year. While prospects for retaking the House seem slim, Democrats hope to make big gains in the nation's state houses.

A Locke spokesperson was quick to point out that the governor's attendance at the Gore event does not necessarily mean Locke will support another Gore run in 2004. "It's premature to say that," Locke spokesperson Roger Nyhus told The Stranger. "I know they're friends. They have mutual respect for one another."

The retreat is ostensibly for Gore's Leadership '02 PAC, which Gore is using to help elect Democrats to the House and Senate this fall. But it's hardly a secret that this weekend's powwow is a huddle of key political advisors and potential supporters, and perhaps more importantly, a way of feeling out the big donors Gore will need to bankroll another presidential run. Financial support from these donors will be crucial if Gore is to run again, and will bring political support from key Democratic bigwigs like Locke.

Of course, any mention of a weekend policy retreat organized by Gore is sure to induce narcoleptic impulses in even the most seasoned political hacks. But Team Gore is promising there will be at least some fun at the event. An early version of the agenda, apparently sent to reporters by mistake, teases at a Saturday night after-party with an enticing possibility. "Maybe at B. B. King's place?"

Hope you have fun, governor.