The 2016 presidential election is still a little less than two years away; however, it’s never too early to begin the conversation of, “who’s in and who’s out?” Unlike in 2012 and for the first time in decades, it appears that there will be an overabundance of qualified candidates that all could very well snag the nomination. So who are these possible men and women considering entering the race, and what type of chances do they have? Let’s break it down:
Senator Rand Paul (KY.)
Rand Paul happens to be one of the most interesting men in politics today. It’s no secret that Republicans have continuously been losing support from younger and more diverse voting blocks; however, one could argue that there is no Republican out there working harder to reach out to youth and minority voters more than Senator Paul. His libertarian streak has a chance to really resonate with the more “conservatarian” aspects of the GOP that have taken form of late. Although he may not be an establishment favorite, he has great chances to be successful in the early primary states of Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina. Senator Paul will most assuredly be a potential candidate to watch.
Governor Chris Christie (NJ.)
Governor Christie would be an extremely formidable candidate and a probable frontrunner if he chose to run in 2016. Christie is a no B.S. type of politician who doesn’t mind telling it how it is, even when his opinion might not be needed. As chairman of the Republican Governors Association during the 2014 midterm election cycle, Republican governors exceeded expectations and held on to 31 of the nation’s 50 governor seats. Christie has also proven that he can raise large sums of money, something that will be needed in order to win the GOP nomination.
Former Governor Jeb Bush (Fla.)
If and when Jeb Bush decides to run, he will immediately be labeled by many in the Republican establishment as the frontrunner. Bush garners an impressive list of deep pocketed donors who would have no problem writing checks to support another Bush candidacy. Some may argue that the country doesn’t need a third Bush in the White House, but those worries could be put to rest if Hillary Clinton decides to run for the Democratic ticket. If that were to happen, than a possible Bush vs. Clinton match up would be quite interesting to watch.
Senator Marco Rubio (Fla.)
Marco Rubio is yet another formidable Floridian who has hinted at a potential presidential run. Despite Rubio’s appeal to Hispanic voters and youthful charisma, he has his work cut out for him to sway back the more conservative sectors of the GOP who lost trust in him for supporting Immigration Reform. Despite this fact, his diversity and credibility will make him a strong contender for the nomination.
Governor Scott Walker (Wis.)
Scott Walker has survived three governor elections in a four year period, all while residing in the blue-leaning state of Wisconsin. This fact alone has made him a rock star among conservatives around the country. But does he have fight left in him after three tiresome campaigns in a row? Time will tell, but for now, Scott Walker has the street cred and credentials to make waves in his fight for the GOP nomination.
Senator Ted Cruz (TX.)
Senator Cruz would more than likely be the most conservative candidate in the field if he decided to make a run for the White House. Many Republicans have both privately and publicly voiced their concern and dislike regarding several of Cruz’s core beliefs and have a hard time picturing him winning in the national arena; but don’t count him out quite yet. Cruz has broad appeal to Tea Party and Evangelical Christians who will surely make it to the polls during the early primary states of Iowa and South Carolina. Although it seems unlikely that he would end up with the nomination, it’s way too early to count anyone out.
Representative Paul Ryan (Wis.)
Paul Ryan has broad appeal among moderates and conservatives within the Republican Party and was a formidable Vice Presidential candidate when Mitt Romney tapped him to be his choice for VP. Although Ryan never got the chance to serve as the Vice President, many say he has a strong chance at being the nominee — if he wants it, that is. Ryan seems to be content with his current position in the House working as the Chairman of the powerful Ways and Means committee. He would be among the frontrunners if he decided to make a run for it, but many have their doubts that he’d even be interested. Only time will tell, but for now, he remains on the list.
Former GOP Nominee Mitt Romney (Mass.)
Don’t laugh; it could happen (although it's unlikely). Mitt Romney consistently gave a big NO when previously asked if he’d consider making a third run for the White House, but recently his tone has shifted. Since Romney’s defeat in 2012 to President Obama, many pundits have given him credit for correctly predicting a wide range of issues, from U.S. relations with Russia to the mess of the Affordable Care Act. Despite this, it still seems unlikely that he would want to make a third run for the White House; however, that won’t stop people from wishful thinking.
Other Potential Candidates:
Governor Bobby Jindal (LA.)
Former Governor Mike Huckabee (Ark.)
Former Governor Rick Perry (TX.)
Former Senator Rick Santorum (PA.)
Governor Mike Pence (IN.)
Dr. Ben Carson (MD)
Former Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina (CA)