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A Small Field May Trigger Some New Candidate

Earlier today, I taped a podcast with Ana Marie Cox of GQ magazine. The early 2012 buzz came up, and she asked whether there were any dark horse picks.

I noted the possibility of a short field, discussed by Rich over in the Corner a few days ago. Hermain Cain is in. Mitt Romney, Tim Pawlenty, and Newt Gingrich seem certain to run. Rick Santorum and Jon Huntsman seem likely but not certain yet, and it's easy to find reasons they might not catch fire. Haley Barbour has hit some early bumps and doesn't seem to be in any rush. Obviously, there's Sarah Palin, but it's still conceivable that she won't run. Mitch Daniels's comments suggest he's sane enough to wonder if he wants to deal with the aggravation of a campaign, and Mike Huckabee seems pretty happy with his life as it is.

If the field turns out to be small and unimpressive, I suspect there is some prominent Republican official out there who is currently saying he won't run who will reconsider. In other words, some governor or senator out there who could pass a lie detector test with his current denials will consider the state of the country and the state of the party and decide to become a late entrant.

The AP seems to be thinking along the same lines:

What's wrong with this picture? While half a dozen current and former Republican governors weigh bids to challenge President Barack Obama, the party's lightning and thunder are coming from a different handful of governors, who threaten to overshadow those potential candidates.

Republicans drawing the most national attention in recent weeks are first-term Govs. Scott Walker of Wisconsin and Chris Christie of New Jersey. Many conservatives love them for battling public-sector unions in the name of cutting government spending.

Not far behind is another tier of hard-charging, tough-talking GOP governors who say they are showing the country how to shrink budgets, and vowing to hold Obama accountable in ways traditionally left to Congress. They include Rick Perry of Texas, John Kasich of Ohio and Bob McDonnell of Virginia.

Jim Geraghty

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A Small Field May Trigger Some New Candidate

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