2012 Republican Presidential Contenders
A Look at the Contenders
Looking ahead to the 2012 U.S. Presidential Election, one foregone conclusion is that President Barack Obama will run for reelection. The big question is who will run against him? The Republican Party is currently the minority party in the United States, with the Democrats controlling Congress and the White House. The congressional elections in 2010 will help determine what direction the country is moving in, but people have already begun speculating over who will be the challenger to Barack Obama. Below is the 10 most likely people to run for the Republican nomination in 2012 in the order that they are most likely to receive it at this current time.
The Most Likely Options
1) Mitt Romney- Former Governor of Massachusetts and business leader.
Romney is a front runner for the nomination right now, because he is one of the few Republicans with the organization in place to mount a challenge. On top of that, Romney has millions of dollars that he is willing to personally spend to help capture the nomination. If the economy is still in shambles, his business background will look more and more appealing to voters.
2) Newt Gingrich- Former Speaker of the House and Georgia congressman.
Gingrich is a controversial figure within the country from his days as Speaker of the House during the Clinton Administration. His admitted extramarital affair didn’t help him. Since then has worked on his image, wrote a few books, is a frequent commentator on television, and after all was the brains behind the Contract for America and the GOP takeover in 1994. New ideas is just what the Republican Party needs.
3) Sarah Palin- former Alaska Governor and 2008 GOP vice presidential nominee.
Palin is arguably the most famous Republican in the country and the most popular among the base. Going hand in hand with that is her unpopularity with the media and many voters. Her decision to resign as governor is shocking, but it is too early to judge what effect this will have on her chances. A national book tour, speeches, interviews, and being a conservative voice just might give her the leg up on getting the nomination.
4) Tim Pawlenty- Governor of Minnesota and former state legislator.
Pawlenty is a rising star within the Republican Party and was on the short list to be the vice presidential nominee in 2008. The fact that he won reelection in blue Minnesota adds to the fact he may be able to win some purple states. Low name recognition and media presence will hurt his chances, but his experience and low visibility may help him define himself before his opponents can.
5) Mike Huckabee- former Governor of Arkansas and current Fox News show host.
Huckabee shocked pundits with his surprise victory in Iowa in 2008 and winning the second highest amount of delegates after John McCain. His job on the nation’s most watch news channel helps his name ID among voters. What may hurt him is the fact he is too socially conservative. That, along with the view that he is quirky, doesn’t go down well with voters, but it may in the GOP primary.
6) Bobby Jindal- Governor of Louisiana and former congressman
Jindal is the definition of a rising star. Not only is he a strong conservative, but also he is an Indian-American. He was also on McCain’s short list of v.p. contenders, but lack of experience kept him off. Jindal gave a disastrous response to Barack Obama’s State of the Union, which shows he may not be ready for prime time. His age may also be a factor, since he is only in his thirties.
7) Charlie Crist- Governor of Florida and former state attorney general
Crist is a popular executive in the largest swing state. He is running for the U.S. Senate in 2010, probably to boost his profile ahead of a presidential run. Going against him is his blatant desire for the office and the fact voters may not like him switching jobs so often. He may be a frontrunner for the vice presidential position, if he wins the Senate race. If Crist loses the Senate race, he is toast.
8) Rudy Giuliani- former New York City Mayor and U.S. Attorney
Giuliani is one of the most recognizable men in the country following his leadership during 9/11. He has a lot going against him, from being a moderate to business dealings to his private life. Rudy is eyeing a run for New York Governor in 2010 and that could be a barometer of his plans. A win would put him in a good position to run for president, a loss would end his political career.
9) Haley Barbour- Governor of Mississippi and former RNC Chairman
Barbour is one of the brightest governors in the country and certainly looks good following his tremendous display of leadership after Hurricane Katrina. Going against him is his past lobbying ties and the fact that the Republican Party stereotype is an old, southern, white man and that is exactly what Barbour is (no offense). His experience as RNC chair may allow him to maneuver himself effectively to win the nomination.
10) Ron Paul- Texas Congressman and doctor
Paul is the hero of the Libertarian movement in the United States and ran in 2008 in the Republican primaries. He demonstrated a great talent at raising money, but did not win any primaries. There is a possibility he will run again, but is more likely to win the nomination of the Libertarian Party then the Republican Party given his positions on many issues.
Out of the Running
1) Mark Sanford- Governor of South Carolina
Cheated on his wife and there are calls for his resignation from both parties.
2) John Ensign- Nevada Senator
Cheated on his wife and was the target of political blackmail
3) Jon Huntsman Jr- Utah Governor
Nominated to be President Obama’s ambassador to China. Look for him to run in 2016 or 2020.
Long Shot Possibilities
1) Jeb Bush- Former Governor of Florida, member of the Bush Family
Certainly has strong credentials to run, it just happens that his name is Bush. He could run in the future when Bush fatigue dies down.
2) Kay Bailey Hutchison- Senator from Texas and former state treasurer
Hutchison is one of the most experienced politicians in the party. She is challenging incumbent Texas Governor Rick Perry in the 2010 Republican primary. If she wins, her candidacy becomes more probably. If she loses, she is done. One downfall she has is that she is slightly moderate, which may hurt her chances.
3) Rick Perry- Governor of Texas and former state legislator.
Perry is the longtime governor of the second largest state. His conservative credentials are strong. He is being challenged by Senator Hutchison in the primary next year. If he loses, he is toast. If he wins, his candidacy becomes more likely.
4) Eric Cantor- Congressman from Virginia and Republican Whip
Cantor is a rising star in the party for his conservative stances and has become a celebrity within the House of Representatives. His age and the fact that he is in the House hurt his chances, unless he really has a breakthrough.
5) Mike Pence- Congressman from Indiana
Pence is a strong conservative and has endeared himself to the conservative base of the party. Like Cantor, it is hard to go from the House to the presidency unless a breakthrough occurs.
6) Condoleezza Rice- former Secretary of State and National Security Adviser
Rice is one of the brightest minds in the country today, and her status as a minority and as a woman earns her points in the Republican Party. Downside is she seems content to return to academic life and has no domestic policy experience. She remains a possibility as a vice presidential contender or as a presidential one further down the road.
It is important to remember that the Republican Presidential nominee in 2012 might not even be on this list. Recall that this time four years ago, Barack Obama was a brand new Senator and had just left the state legislature. The results in 2010 may very well yield a new leader within the party that could challenge the president. Keep your eyes peeled.
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