Al Gore’s Determined New York Supporters

The hardy group of New Yorkers trying to draft Mike Bloomberg for president has some company in the category of local campaigns for noncandidates.

New York for Al Gore is now up and running, ready to collect petition signatures to get the former vice president on the ballot for New York’s Democratic primary on Feb. 5.

The group put up a modest Web site this week. And the chairman of the organization’s petition drive, Bud Plautz—a 60-year-old tax lawyer who was a state Democratic committee member from Manhattan’s East Side from 1980 to 2000—followed up by sending out an e-mail to potential supporters on Oct. 9 appealing for help.

From the e-mail: “There seems to be a lot of so-called ‘petitioning’ to get Al Gore to run for president. That’s all fine and well. But the petitions referred to on these sites don’t seem to have anything to do with actually putting Al Gore on the [ballot on] Feb. 5 through filing petitions with the NYS Board of Elections.”

In an interview, Mr. Plautz said, “Al Gore for sure can win in November of 2008. Indeed, he’s already won. He won in 2000. And then also, on the substantive issues, and I would refer you to his San Francisco speech in September of 2002 for the Iraq war. He predicted everything and what a mistake it is.”

He also contended that the efforts in New York and other parts of the country to get Mr. Gore into the race were more serious than the correspondingly quixotic attempts to draft the mayor, since the former vice president would be running in an existing party and, unlike Mr. Bloomberg, is up for a Nobel Prize.

Mr. Plautz, who worked on the presidential campaign of Representative Dennis Kucinich in 2004, explained that his group had resolved to proceed with the draft effort after a lunch meeting on the Upper East Side, where they found support from an unexpected source.

“We had a formal meeting at Sharz Restaurant on East 86th Street in late September,” Mr. Plautz said. “The owner of the restaurant gave us a discount on lunch. I think I had one beer.”

Al Gore’s Determined New York Supporters