For 2016, GOP need not look beyond its roster of governors

This weekend, one Republican reportedly will get a jump on the rest of the potential 2016 presidential field with a one-hour documentary — call it an ad-umentary — to introduce himself to the American people. His identity may come as a bit of a surprise: He’s retired neurosurgeon Benjamin Carson.

Carson became a star on the right after his National Prayer Breakfast speech in which he criticized Obamacare in President Obama’s presence. He subsequently gave a rousing speech at the 2013 CPAC conference (which I attended and wrote about) and has been making the rounds visiting local GOP chapters (including the Fulton County GOP, covered here).

Whether Carson is the right person to lead this country as its president is debatable. But his apparent entry into the race got me thinking about the GOP nominating process for 2016 (I told y’all this discussion would begin amazingly soon). And it occurred to me that the strength of the Republican Party is in its past and present governors — to the point the party could hold a lively, competitive, instructive primary comprising no one else.

Consider this list of potential candidates with gubernatorial experience, and the particular angle(s) they might bring to the race. I started with the past/present governors found on this list at the national GOP’s website. I then divided them into three groups — likely to run, not unlikely to run, and unlikely to run — based on no inside information, just my own sense of things gleaned from what I’ve read lately. I am leaving out the “unlikely to run,” since there doesn’t seem to be a pressing need to discuss them, and have listed the others in alphabetical order within each group:

LIKELY TO RUN

Chris Christie (New Jersey, current): Tough-talking straight shooter who has been effective working with Democrats — and been elected twice — in a blue state; solid blend of conservative and moderate credentials; successful leadership of Republican Governors Association during this cycle put him in good stead with a lot of newly elected/re-elected governors.

Bobby Jindal (Louisiana, current): An “ideas guy” whose two-term tenure has been marked by innovation and experimentation, especially regarding education; past experience in health policy; a Southern candidate who could appeal to the nation’s growing South Asian population; at 43, the youngest person on this list.

John Kasich (Ohio, current): Crushed a Democrat on his way to re-election in a perennial swing state the GOP almost certainly has to win; not only enacted but defended an expansion of Medicaid; longtime congressman who chaired the House Budget Committee from 1995 to 2001, i.e. the last time the government ran a surplus.

Mike Pence (Indiana, current): Before being elected governor in 2012, spent 10 years in the U.S. House and built a reputation as a true-blue conservative; has walked a fine line on both Medicaid expansion and Common Core.

Scott Walker (Wisconsin, current): A conservative darling ever since he beat back a Democratic revolt over changes to laws governing public-sector unions in the state; two-time winner (three, counting a failed recall attempt) in a bluish-purple state that could be key to GOP hopes in 2016.

NOT UNLIKELY TO RUN

Jeb Bush (Florida, former): His last name cuts both ways; known for innovative policy, particularly on education; positions on immigration and Common Core run somewhat counter to that of the party’s base but might be beneficial if he made it to a general election; hails from a must-win state for Republicans; speaks Spanish and is married to a Mexican-American.

Mike Huckabee (Arkansas, former): Probably the favorite of the religious right if he runs; relatively moderate reputation on economic and fiscal issues; might be the most formidable candidate in the South.

Susana Martinez (New Mexico, current): Former prosecutor who switched parties; two-time winner who just won re-election handily in a state the GOP presidential nominee has carried just once in the past six elections; as a Latina, she pushes back in two ways on the “old white male” stereotype of Republicans and could help with two important demographics.

Rick Perry (Texas, leaving office in January): Three-time governor of a huge, deep-red state that has been the country’s best-performing state economically over the last few years; has dealt first-hand with border security issue; at 64, the oldest person on this list.

That’s a pretty substantial and diverse list of candidates who cover a lot of the spectrum, in geography and ideology, on the GOP side. Sure, a lot of people would like to see senators such as Ted Cruz, Rand Paul and Marco Rubio run. My personal preference would be to see them wait, go back to their states, run for governor, and then possibly run for president with executive experience under their belts.

Of course, that’ll never happen.

Still, I think there’s a strong chance the best GOP candidate will be one of those governors listed above. Maybe not the one who ends up winning, but the best one.

REMINDER: With AJC.com’s new look, you may have trouble finding my blog until you get used to the new layout. In the meantime, please bookmark my landing page: http://kylewingfield.blog.ajc.com/

Also: I know there’s a lot of frustration with the new look for commenting. Your concerns have been heard. I am told that fixing this is “a top priority,” although it may take some time to fix it. In the meantime, I appreciate your patience and continued readership.

Reader Comments 0

32 comments
Caius
Caius

It is never to early to start a presidential campaign.


Christie - albatross around his neck.

Jindal - big on education, last thing we need at the Federal level.

Kasich - Would not have been balanced budgets without his efforts.

Walker -  won 3 statewide elections in 4 years -  heck of a candidate.


Ted Cruz -  not constitutionally qualified.




RantNRave
RantNRave

FIGMO2


RE: BEN CARSON


"WE'VE ALREADY BEEN THE

INEXPERIENCED ROUTE"


TRANSLATION:


ONE BLACK PRESIDENT


IS TOO MANY!!

RantNRave
RantNRave

OMG !!!!


2016 REPUBLICAN 

PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES


BEN "CRA CRA" CARSON

TED "GRENS EGGS" CRUZ

LINDSAY "IN THE CLOSET" GRAHAM

MIKE "HYPOCRITE" HUCKABEE

BOBBY "THE TURTLE" JINDAL

STEVE "THE KOOK" KING

RAND "SHORT MAN" PAUL

RICK "OOPS" PERRY

MITT "THE LIAR" ROMNEY

MARCO "THE FLIPPER" RUBIO

PAUL "THE BACKSTABBER" RYAN



LET THE CIRCUS BEGIN !!!

IReportYouWhine
IReportYouWhine

We're not a big fan of the comment box content nag either.

FIGMO2
FIGMO2

Although I admire and respect Ben Carson for what he's accomplished in life, his field of expertise is limited... therefore, he wouldn't be my first choice. We've already been the inexperienced route.

That aside, I don't wanna see him called a token or Uncle Tom by the left. He deserves better than that. 

With the exception of Huckabee, I could support any one of those you mentioned, Kyle.

HeadleyLamar
HeadleyLamar

@FIGMO2 Kasich is pro Medicaid expansion


Can you support that? Bringing access to healthcare to poor people ?

FIGMO2
FIGMO2

@HeadleyLamar

Can I support Medicaid expansion in the state of Ohio?

Sure...why not?

schnirt

IReportYouWhine
IReportYouWhine

@HeadleyLamar @FIGMO2 Now, that being said, I have never been a supporter of Obamacare. The reason, and to give you an example, we refused to run a state exchange because we didn't have the authority to make decisions. On our Medicaid program it grows by less than 3% and it's been filled with innovation and that's because we run it.


This is exactly the sort of thing we should bring to the negotiating table with the democrats,proven,  sound ideas that are well communicated. Medicaid has been in existence for over 50 years, why not expand it and eliminate obamacare? That way the poor get covered and the middle class get's left alone to make their own decisions ina low cost, high quality, free market environment such as what Casich did in Ohio. And eliminating the obamacare massive expenditures and regulatory damage will more than cover the cost of expanding medicaid. 

RantNRave
RantNRave

REPUBLICAN CONGRESS


vs


THE TEA PARY


LET THE GAMES BEGIN !!!!!!


heeheeheeheeheeheee

straker
straker

EdUktr  - "still in denial"


No one is in denial.


We know all too well what will happen to a Republican Congress is a civil war between the Tea Party and moderates.


Nothing will get done and our country will suffer for yet another two years until the majority of voters come to their senses and elect a Democratic Congress.

EdUktr
EdUktr

America’s colors. For liberals still in denial, here’s what the Republican majority in Congress looks like, in red and blue:

http://tinyurl.com/nqzg94q

straker
straker

Chris Christie is the one, and only, Republican I will vote for.


He is a person of quality in an otherwise field of cranks and losers.

northgagop
northgagop

@straker Not sure how well he'll do outside of the Northeast


RantNRave
RantNRave

BEN "THE CRACKPOT" CARSON ???


BEN HAS LOST HIS MIND AND

NEEDS A LOBOTOMY...................


RUN BEN RUN !!!


heeheeheeheeheeheeee

LogicalDude
LogicalDude

Kasich/Martinez would be a compelling choice. 


Kasich would be criticized for his ObamaCare choices, but since he isn't scared to defend his actions, I see him as able to continue and improve healthcare in a more common sense way than any of the other candidates. 

Martinez can show that Republicans can attract women and minorities, and she may be able to bring a bunch of old white guys around to accepting true immigration reform instead of "NO AMNESTY! NO WAY! NO HOW!" that we currently hear. 

JamVet
JamVet

The great news?


Not ONE of those people can win...


Oh and Carson?


He needs to work on his moronic mangling of Abraham Lincoln quotes some more!

DawgDadII
DawgDadII

Russian tanks are rolling into Ukraine today. Over my lifetime (in my 60's) a primary role of the US has been to lead the West in checking expansion of the Russian sphere of influence. Almost universally, Russian expansion has proven harmful and destructive to people and liberty, most often extremely harmful. People should keep this in mind as they focus on candidates for President. Tearing down the wall was EXTREMELY costly over the years in human life and resources, and historically the Russians have seized on every show of weakness.

DawgDadII
DawgDadII

@HeadleyLamar  I hope that assessment is correct. In the meantime a lot of Ukrainians and some international air travelers have paid a severe price.

HeadleyLamar
HeadleyLamar

@DawgDadII @HeadleyLamar Yes they have. If Putin wants to take Ukraine by force he can. We aren't starting WWIII over the Ukraine.


But if he chooses that path he MUST PAY A SEVERE ECONOMIC PRICE. 


And that has already begun.

Finn-McCool
Finn-McCool

"Robert Siegel: “…as of today, according to numbers from the Associated Press, a bit over 83 million people voted. As a share of the voting-eligible population, that is 36.6 percent … if the national turnout rate doesn’t reach 38.1 percent, it would be the lowest turnout since the midterm elections of 1942. And as Michael McDonald points out, that was in the middle of the Second World War.” (Midterm Elections May Have Had Record Low Turnout NPR All Things Considered)"


Ouch! And we were in the middle of a war at that time.

Kyle_Wingfield
Kyle_Wingfield moderator

@Finn-McCool He wasn't on the list I used as my basis. But I also don't think he'll run. Nor should he.

HeadleyLamar
HeadleyLamar

@Kyle_Wingfield @Finn-McCool Republicans have always gone with the next man up approach...And that was Romney as it was McCain in 08. But you're right there isn't a clear cut next man up this time around.


Should be interesting watching these folks move to the right ( for some even further ) to try and get the nomination.

HeadleyLamar
HeadleyLamar

Kasich is the only one with a chance nationally but he cant get past the party purity test. Medicaid expansion in his state kills his chances right there.


Republicans will keep the debates to a minimum this time around. The less the country gets a look at their candidates the better it is for them.


Did I mention this new format sucks ?

Claver
Claver

Huckabee "might be the most formidable candidate in the South."  I have not heard them all speak, but of the ones I have heard I think Huckabee seems the most personable. Christie often crosses that fine line between straightforwardness and rudeness that might rub a lot of Southerners the wrong way.

Claver
Claver

Executive experience is certainly a plus, but I suspect that the anti-Washington sentiments will still be strong leading up to 2016, so obviously putting up a Governor instead of a Congressman has that going for it, too.