GOP presidential hopefuls test drive their messages in Iowa

Campaign 2016
by Kent Covington & Nick Eicher
Posted 1/28/15, 03:53 pm

The staff of The World and Everything in It has profiled 22 possible candidates for president in 2016 in its White House Wednesday series. Now they take a look at who’s ahead and who’s making moves as the big campaign gets closer.

Assembling in Iowa. The Iowa Freedom Summit last Saturday featured 23 Republican speakers, many of whom are considering running for president. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie emphasized pro-life politics, saying he proved a lot of political consultants wrong by winning in a blue state. “I can assure you that being pro-life is not a liability anywhere in America,” he said. Christie is said to be building a political team for a presidential run, and he just formed a political action committee to raise funds. Other speakers at the Iowa Freedom Summit included former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, who expressed an interest in running for president, too. Palin’s following within the party has faded over the past few years, and her speech at the Freedom Summit was widely panned.

Joining the fray. Some new faces in race for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination emerged at the Iowa Freedom Summit. Carly Fiorina, the former CEO of Hewlett Packard, who guided the company through the bursting of the dot-com bubble, touted her accomplishments in the business world. “It is only in America that a young woman can start as a secretary and become the chief executive officer of the largest technology company in the world,” she said. Fiorina unsuccessfully ran for the Senate against California Sen. Barbara Boxer in 2010. Having never held political office, Fiorina would not likely win the GOP nomination for president. But her presence in the race could be positive for the GOP, proving it is not an all-boys club.

Democratic stirrings. Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., the self-described Democratic Socialist, is heading back to Iowa next month for a three-day trip as he continues to weigh a presidential bid. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton reportedly has decided who will fill most of the top slots on her campaign team is expected to officially announce her candidacy in April.

Presidential power rankings. These rankings do not put the candidates in order of who is most likely to ultimately win the Republican nomination. Rather, they take the temperature of each campaign, like tracking the ups and downs of the stock market. About two-thirds of the equation is polling and recent events that can affect a campaign but may not be showing up in the polls yet. About one-third of the equation is the strength of the candidate.

  1. Former Massachussetts Gov. Mitt Romney. The most recent polls show Romney with a healthy lead, but he’s still trading on name recognition right now. It’s only going to get tougher for him going forward. 
  2. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush
  3. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker
  4. Florida Sen. Marco Rubio
  5. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie
  6. Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee
  7. Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, who has been pretty active on the campaign trail recently
  8. Ohio Gov. John Kasich
  9. Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul
  10. Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry

Listen to “White House Wednesday” on The World and Everything in It.

Nick Eicher

Nick lives in St. Louis, loves the Blues (as in the NHL), is executive producer of WORLD Radio, and co-hosts WORLD's radio news magazine The World and Everything in It. Follow Nick on Twitter @NickEicher.

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