Crystal Ball: Republican Presidential Candidates for 2016
Marco Rubio, Paul Ryan and Nikki Haley are rising stars in the Republican Party.
Since the Republican candidates have been playing a game of musical chairs in the 2012 presidential race, it’s impossible to predict which one will surface as the nominee. The fact that the GOP has had three front-runners during two months of primaries — Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich — doesn’t exactly inspire confidence that a Republican will defeat President Barack Obama on Election Day.
If Obama indeed triumphs in November, a new set of Republican candidates will be gearing up to wrestle the presidency out of the Democratic Party’s hands come 2016. Only time will tell the identities of these candidates, but they’re likely to be the Republican politicians viewed as rising stars today.
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Here are the ones to watch:
Mitch Daniels: A number of news outlets predicted that the second-term Indiana governor would seek the presidency in the 2012 election. They were wrong, of course. But it’s not out of the question that Daniels will jump in the 2016 race. Due to his conservative stances on immigration and abortion, Republicans are likely to consider him a true right-winger. Given that Daniels delivered the Republican response to President Obama’s State of the Union address in January, the GOP clearly views him as a leader.
Marco Rubio: The U.S. senator from Florida has tongues wagging that he’ll be the vice presidential pick of the Republican nominee. While he’s downplayed such rumors, Rubio is no doubt a rising star in the GOP. The Tea Party has praised him, and Republicans hope the Cuban-American politician will attract more Latinos to the conservative camp.
Chris Christie: Many Republicans hoped that New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie would run for president in 2012. He declined, but may opt to join the 2016. Christie, in office since January 2010, is the first Republican to win a gubernatorial in New Jersey in years.
Paul Ryan: Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan, chair of the House Budget Committee, became the rock star of the GOP last year when he spearheaded Republican budget plan, The Path to Prosperity. Although the House passed the plan, the Senate voted it down. Despite the setback, scores of conservatives heaped praise on Ryan for the budget proposal.
Nikki Haley: In January 2011, the conservative politician became the first female governor of South Carolina and the second Indian-American governor of a U.S. state. Her supporters include the Tea Party, Mitt Romney and Sarah Palin. Her backing of voter ID laws and immigration crackdowns will likely further endear her to Republicans.