(Providence, Rhode Island) – There are now 15 official Republican candidates for President, with two more planning to jump into the hot tub soon! Over the past few months we’ve done snapshots of nine of these candidates, so let’s “brunch” on the most recent eight entrants:
“Walker: Pluses and Minuses” – Governor Scott Walker (R-WI) comes to the table as a bare-knuckled fighter. After winning his first election in 2010, he beat back a nasty recall election just two years later and was then reelected in 2014. He has successfully battled the state’s public employee unions which has brought him both wide praise and bitter hatred, depending upon which side you are on. Walker leads polls in Iowa and is close to the top in New Hampshire, but a big question is whether Walker could even carry his own state as a Presidential nominee.
“Christie: Ups and Downs” – Governor Chris Christie (R-NJ) is mostly an unscripted, unfiltered firebrand, who can be something of a loose cannon at times. A lot of people find that endearing, especially when he berates the press. But what is charming to some comes off as temperamental and juvenile to others. Christie is still very popular in the Garden State and is perhaps the only Republican in the field who could carry New Jersey and its 14 Electoral College votes. It’s a traditionally blue Presidential state.
“Trump: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” -- The billionaire real estate mogul is the real wild-card candidate for the Republicans this year. Unlike all others, his own personal fortune could keep him in the race from start to finish, even if his poll numbers decline. Despite his controversial remarks about Mexicans, his poll numbers actually spiked, and, he is - in fact - the frontrunner nationally in the latest USA Today poll. But his proclivity for controversy and self-promotional blather could wear on the public’s patience in a long campaign. Like Ross Perot in 1992, Trump is fascinating, but with the same potential for pushing the self-destruct button.
“Perry: Texas Hold Him?” – Former Governor Rick Perry (R-TX) was the longest serving chief executive in his state’s history, but the Lone Star state is likely to go Republican, no matter the nominee. What else would Perry bring to the table, aside from his home state? Another concern is his lackluster 2012 campaign for the GOP nomination. In one famous debate, he simply forgot his answer about halfway through and had to stop. Moments like that get repeated over and over again on YouTube and on political talk shows. His meltdown was the Republican’s version of the Howard Dean scream in 2004.
“Kasich: Ohio’s the One!” – Governor John Kasich (R-OH) will formally declare for President this Tuesday. His biggest asset is his resume, including 18 years in the U.S. House, six as Chairman of the Budget Committee. He is in his second term as Governor in a state the Republicans must carry in 2016, and he’s frequently mentioned as a Vice Presidential pick, too. His downsides include a boring stump speech (Being a budget expert is not very sexy!) and the fact that he’s not well known beyond Ohio or the DC Beltway.
“Jindal: Pluses and Minuses” – Governor Bobby Jindal (R-LA) is part of growing number of prominent ethnic minority members in the Republican Party. That helps diversify the GOP’s base and image. Jindal is also considered an expert on health care and education, which will be two huge issues in the campaign. On the downside, Jindal’s proposal to replace the Louisiana income tax with an increase in the state’s sales tax fell flat. In a tough economy, his home-state job approval rating has declined rapidly.
“Graham: Hits and Misses” – Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) is seen as an expert on national defense issues; and in a world where we are seeing an increase in terror attacks at home and abroad, he may appear to people as having the right credentials at the right time. His early call to remove the Confederate flag from the South Carolina State House drew wide praise and much derision, depending on which side of the debate you were on. Graham is popular in his home state and inside the beltway, but who else knows him except political junkies?
“Gilmore: Ups and Downs” – Former Governor Jim Gilmore (R-VA) will announce his candidacy the first week of August. He has a strong background in military intelligence and is a longtime prosecutor at the local and state level. His law- and-order personna will be an asset. Virginia is a must-win state for the Republicans, but it voted Democrat the past two Presidential election cycles. There are questions about whether Gilmore can even carry his own state after he was badly trounced in a U.S. Senate race, garnering only 24 percent of the vote statewide in 2008.
“Crowded Field Conundrum” – There are now 17 legitimate Republican candidate for President of the United States. In theory, if they all had similar levels of support, it is possible someone could win a primary with as little as 5.9 percent of the vote. I know that sounds crazy, but it’s anyone’s race right now.
If you were voting for GOP candidates, which one would be your pick? Just let us now by clicking the comment button at www.MarkCurtisMedia.com.
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