Republicans reshuffle after Romney scraps campaign

Campaign 2016
by Kent Covington & Nick Eicher
Posted 2/04/15, 04:15 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.

Mitt withdrawal. Just three weeks after former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney shook up the Republican field by telling supporters he wanted in, he turned it upside down once more last Friday by announcing he wanted out.But Romney, on a conference call with supporters, said he was convinced that were he to run, he could win. He conceded, though, another Romney campaign might not be the GOP’s best shot at reclaiming the White House. That seems to be what some people within the party thought, too. But a Fox News poll pitting Hillary Clinton against a few potential GOP nominees showed Romney right now has the best chance at defeating her in the general election. It showed Clinton beating former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush by 5 points, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie by 6, and Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., by 3. But a Clinton-Romney matchup was tied at 46 percent each. Right now, Romney is the best-known politician on the GOP list, so it makes sense he would fare the best in the polls. Even he noted his star will fade as the election cycle unfolds.

Hillary’s domination. The battle for the presidency thus far is shaping up to be a tale of two fields—a crowded one on the Republican side and a virtual party of one on the Democratic side. In the latest national poll, Clinton has a 38-point advantage over her closest potential Democratic rival for the presidential nomination, Vice President Joe Biden. And he might not even run. Clinton’s next closest possible opponent, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., trails Clinton by 43 points, but doesn’t seem to care. Warren has repeatedly said she is not running for president, though many of her supporters want her to. Meanwhile, Clinton was expected to launch her 2016 campaign in April, but Politico quoted unnamed sources saying she might opt to push the official launch back to July.

Joining the club. More than 15 viable Republicans have expressed interest in a 2016 run, and that list is still growing. After quietly forming a super political action committee (PAC) late last month, former New York Gov. George Pataki promoted himself on Newsmax TV this week. He said he was heading up to New Hampshire again and would be “making the rounds constantly” over the next few weeks. Last week saw Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and former Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina join the GOP field. The big story right now isn’t who’s in, but who’s out.

Presidential power rankings. These rankings take the temperature of each Republican campaign. 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. Big changes happened this week when Romney announced he wouldn’t run.

  1. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush
  2. Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee. He jumped up in the rankings this week after finishing No. 2 in Fox News’ national poll.
  3. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker
  4. Florida Sen. Marco Rubio
  5. Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul
  6. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie
  7. Dr. Ben Carson
  8. Texas Sen. Ted Cruz
  9. Ohio Gov. John Kasich
  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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