With the important GOP primaries in Arizona and Michigan just a week away, and with the absolutely critical Super Tuesday slate of primaries just two weeks off, it is looking more and more likely that the Republican presidential nominee won’t be definitely selected after these primaries. This has led to whispering about a “brokered convention”, with no one candidate receiving enough delegates through the primaries and caucuses, which would lead to a re-vote and release of all previously bound delegates.
It has also led some nervous Republican party members to suggest another candidate enter the primary fray.
Though no one has been brave enough to publicly discuss it, there is apparently a memo circulating around the Republican ranks discussing how another candidate might enter the remaining primary races, and who they might be. Granted, the odds would be stacked against someone who has missed out on the early primary season, particularly the momentum building events in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Florida. But a majority of delegates are still up for grabs, and many primaries and caucuses award delegates proportionally and not winner-take-all, giving a late-comer more of a chance to make up ground.
Republicans have found it difficult to rally around any of the four remaining candidates. Romney has not been able to rally the Tea Party and evangelical Christians to his side, Gingrich is disliked by many leading party officials, Paul’s ideas about government size and the economy are too radical to gain widespread support, and Santorum’s appeal to evangelicals and values voters may come at the cost of all-important independents.
So who might the Republicans call on?
Former Alaska Gov. and vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin has name recognition and support from the Tea Party. She also has her abrupt resignation from her governorship and the sting of being part of the losing 2008 Republican slate working against her. It’s hard to imagine her being an improvement in electability over the candidates still present.
Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels is probably most famous for giving the Republican rebuttal to the State of the Union address. More recently, he signed a bill into law that made Indiana a “right-to-work” state, barring unions from charging non-union members fees for representation. Indiana is the first state in a decade to make such a move, which unions lobbied vigorously against, and which even Daniels had previously opposed. The flip-flop probably isn’t a big deal, since it falls in line with popular Republican policy now. Daniels’ biggest issue as a candidate is name recognition.
Despite repeatedly telling the party base and the media that he is not running for president, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s name keeps getting mentioned. Christie’s recent veto of a gay marriage bill passed by the New Jersey legislature would seem to endear him to socially conservative voters, while his other policies as governor have been generally moderate. Right now, though, Christie seems to be focusing on running for a second term as New Jersey’s governor in 2013, and not the presidency.
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush certainly has name recognition within the Republican party, and he served two largely successful terms as governor of one of the largest and most influential states in national politics. Whether or not that name recognition is a good thing or a bad thing depends on how you view the presidencies of his father George H.W. Bush and his older brother George W. Bush.
For more information, check out this CNN article.
— Benjamin Nanamaker, InvestorPlace Money & Politics Editor
The opinions contained in this column are solely those of the writer.
Want to share your own views on money, politics and the 2012 elections? Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and we might reprint your views in our InvestorPolitics blog! Please include your name, city and state of residence. All letters submitted to this address will be considered for publication.