Herman Cain jumped in, at an Atlanta rally attended by thousands at “high noon.” Mitch Daniels slunk out, via an email to supporters sent in the middle of the night. Another weekend, another news cycle so full of Republican presidential politics you’d think it was spring 2012, not spring 2011. Where does it all leave us?
Cain’s decision was hardly a secret, so let’s focus on Daniels. The Indiana governor was seen as a top choice for fiscal conservatives but potentially vexing for social conservatives. He talked for months as if he didn’t want to run, but no one seemed to believe him — or maybe they just didn’t want to believe him — until his midnight email Saturday. Compared to, say, Donald Trump, Daniels’ declining to run feels like a real loss. (OK, compared to Trump, Charlie Sheen’s declining to run would feel like a real loss.)
So we can now add Daniels to a long and distinguished list of Republican governors or ex-governors who say they’re not running for president next year: Mississippi’s Haley Barbour, Florida’s Jeb Bush, New Jersey’s Chris Christie, Arkansas’ Mike Huckabee, Louisiana’s Bobby Jindal and Texas’ Rick Perry. That’s seven men who have won a total of 12 gubernatorial elections and racked up a host of policy achievements — but who insist they have no interest in running for president.
What do you think of the GOP presidential field?
Total Voters: 396
Next to them, the govs and ex-govs who say they are running or are still exploring a run — Utah’s Jon Huntsman, New Mexico’s Gary Johnson, Minnesota’s Tim Pawlenty and Massachusetts’ Mitt Romney — comprise a lesser list. I don’t think the comparison improves very much if you add Alaska’s Sarah Palin to the mix.
Of course, it only takes one — and there are non-governors in the running as well: Cain, former Speaker Newt Gingrich, Texas Congressman Ron Paul, former Sen. Rick Santorum. Your question this Monday morning: Does the current field have a winner in it? Answer in the poll to the left and in the comments thread.
– By Kyle Wingfield