Cicero took the first oppertunity he could to become consul. There was a two year interval between his Praetorship and his consulship - This was because of Sulla's Reforms. After his praetorship ended in Dec 66BC he immediatly began planning his campaign for consul.
Cicero wrote a joking letter to Atticus about his opponents, from his tone we can infer that Cicero didn't think his competition was that tough. We also know that he spoke the truth to Atticus as Atticus acted as his 'advisor'. However, in his letter Hybrida and Catalina do stand out. Cicero had six rivals, he describes four of them as 'hopeless but respectable and dull'.
Optimate clique was dominated by Hortensious, Catulus and Lucullues. Cicero used the terms 'optimates' and 'populares' flexibly and had to tread carefully in his political stance so he needed to earn the support of the nobility. Cicero had lent towards populist causes in praetorship.
Cicero's campaign was tireless and preperations were thorough. He dispensed of a nomenclator and learnt to point out every house of everyone he knew across Rome and Italy, which he travelled all over, even visiting troops in Gaul when courts were quiet.
Cicero demonstrated to Optimates he could be trusted, and he looked after intrests of Senate and Equites.
Catalina and the Consulship (Before 63BC) - card o
Catalina was a more formidable opponent. He was in a line of young, able, rebellious aristocrates during the declining years of the Roman Republic. Catalina joined the populares, most probably out of rebellion. The main plank in Catalina's political program was the abolition of dept - would benefit poor more than rich. Catalina was set on loosening the hold of the senate.
Catalina had taken part in the horrfying murder of Cicero's cousin. He was accused of having sex with Vestal Virgin, Fabia, half sister of Terentia. He was believed to of killed his own son so he could be with a woman who didn't want to see a man who had a child by another woman.
Catalina rose steadily up the ladder of politics. He was praetor in 68BC and governor of Africa in 66. It was when he got back to Rome that he began to flirt with illegal activity. He surrounded himself with bodyguards so he was safe on the streets.
When creating clintela he focused on the young and his following included criminals and informers. He rewarded followers with mistresses, dogs and horses.
In 56 Cicero had to clear his embarressment by putting in a good word for Catalina. After that Catalina began to get into serious trouble.
Cataline and the Consulship (Before 63BC) - card t
Catalina was put on notice for extortion in Africa.
Catalina would have liked to have run for consul but was disqualified for threat. He was rumoured to have planned with two disgraced men and bankrupt noble to assassinate the replacement consuls when they took up office and kill as many senators as possible and seize one of the consulships for himself. - First Catalinary Conspiracy.
Caesar quietly supported him.
Catalina and the Consulship (In 63BC)
After missing out last year, Catalina was determined to get a consulship this year and was prepared to do anything to make sure Cicero didn't.
With the up and coming election something changed in Catalina and Cicero even considered defending him at one point. However for reasons we do not know Cicero did not defend Catalina.
Cicero eveidently hoped to win Catalina's support so they could run together in the campaign and win together. This probably has something to do with his beliefs.
Catalina was aquitted.
Crassus was funding Catalina's campaign.