The GOP has created a digital menu of 2016 presidential options. And it’s full of people you probably never even thought of.
The list includes plenty of obvious contenders: New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Rep. Paul Ryan, Sens. Rand Paul and Ted Cruz, and so on. But it also digs deeper in political history, stretching back to Herman Cain and Newt Gingrich, and floats names like Sen. Kelly Ayotte and the always-rumored former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
There are some notable names not on the list, like celebrity millionaire Donald Trump and one-time candidate Mitt Romney. But right now, the GOP is casting an almost comically large net in its hunt for a 2016 candidate.
At the same time, Democrats would probably love to be able to put out a list like this. Once you toss out those who don’t stand a chance (sorry, John Bolton), the massive shopping list still shows how deep the GOP bench is right now. And once Republicans set their mind on a candidate, they will have to convince everyone within their splintered party to support him or her.
Maybe this extremely early, free-flowing straw poll isn’t the worst idea.
Of course, to fill out the poll, you have to give the Republican National Committee your info — there is a broader point in this for the party, after all. Here’s the full list:
- Sen. Kelly Ayotte, New Hampshire
- Former Gov. Haley Barbour, Mississippi
- John Bolton, former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, mustachioed
- Former Gov. Jeb Bush, Florida
- Herman Cain, pizza
- Ben Carson, neurosurgeon
- Gov. Chris Christie, New Jersey
- Sen. Ted Cruz, Texas
- Former Gov. Mitch Daniels, Indiana
- Newt Gingrich, former Newt Gingrich
- Gov. Nikki Haley, South Carolina
- Mike Huckabee, television host
- Gov. Bobby Jindal, Louisiana
- Gov. John Kasich, Ohio
- Rep. Peter King, New York
- Gov. Susana Martinez, New Mexico
- Former Gov. Sarah Palin, Sarah Palin’s Alaska
- Sen. Rand Paul, Kentucky
- Former Rep. Ron Paul, Google Ron Paul
- Former Gov. Tim Pawlenty, Minnesota
- Gov. Mike Pence, Indiana
- Gov. Rick Perry, Texas (listed on the poll as former governor, which he will be by then)
- Sen. Rob Portman, Ohio
- Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice
- Sen. Marco Rubio, Florida
- Rep. Paul Ryan, Wisconsin
- Gov. Brian Sandoval, Nevada
- Former Sen. Rick Santorum, Pennsylvania
- Sen. Tim Scott, South Carolina
- Sen. John Thune, South Dakota
- Gov. Scott Walker, Wisconsin
- Allen West, Allen West Inc.
And, if that’s not enough for you, there’s always a write-in.
What We're Following See More »
As the Russia investigation heats up, "the role of Marc E. Kasowitz, the president’s longtime New York lawyer, will be significantly reduced. Mr. Trump liked Mr. Kasowitz’s blunt, aggressive style, but he was not a natural fit in the delicate, politically charged criminal investigation. The veteran Washington defense lawyer John Dowd will take the lead in representing Mr. Trump for the Russia inquiry."
President Trump's attorneys are "actively compiling a list of Mueller’s alleged potential conflicts of interest, which they say could serve as a way to stymie his work." They plan to argued that Mueller is going outside the scope of his investigation, in inquiring into Trump's finances. They're also playing small ball, highlighting "donations to Democrats by some of" Mueller's team, and "an allegation that Mueller and Trump National Golf Club in Northern Virginia had a dispute over membership fees when Mueller resigned as a member in 2011." Trump is said to be incensed that Mueller may see his tax returns, and has been asking about his power to pardon his family members.
In addition to ties between Russia and the Trump campaign, Robert Mueller's team is also "examining a broad range of transactions involving Trump’s businesses as well as those of his associates, according to a person familiar with the probe. FBI investigators and others are looking at Russian purchases of apartments in Trump buildings, Trump’s involvement in a controversial SoHo development in New York with Russian associates, the 2013 Miss Universe pageant in Moscow, and Trump’s sale of a Florida mansion to a Russian oligarch in 2008, the person said. The investigation also has absorbed a money-laundering probe begun by federal prosecutors in New York into Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort."
Special Counsel Robert Mueller's team is "is examining a broad range of transactions involving Trump’s businesses as well as those of his associates", including "Russian purchases of apartments in Trump buildings, Trump’s involvement in a controversial SoHo development with Russian associates, the 2013 Miss Universe pageant in Moscow and Trump’s sale of a Florida mansion to a Russian oligarch in 2008."
"A Senate bill to gut Obamacare would increase the number of uninsured people by 32 million and double premiums on Obamacare's exchanges by 2026, according to an analysis from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. The analysis is of a bill that passed Congress in 2015 that would repeal Obamacare's taxes and some of the mandates. Republicans intend to leave Obamacare in place for two years while a replacement is crafted and implemented."