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The GOP playing field is wide open. There is plenty of speculation and many Republicans have provided hints or expressed the possibility of running against Barack Obama in 2012, but no one has officially made any type of announcement yet. In Part I, we discussed possible candidates, Palin, Bachmann, Gingrich, and Huckabee. Here are some more of the potential candidates.
The beltway press has speculated that Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour would run for president days after Obama was sworn in. And Barbour has never denied his ambitions. In March, Barbour’s political action committee made an important hire– former RNC communications director Jim Dyke. Dyke will serve in an adviser role on communications for the PAC and many experts believe this hire is a clear intention of Barbour’s ambition. Barbour has also long told reporters to judge his political ambitions by his weight. Unsure of exactly what that means, it is interesting to note that Barbour appears to be losing weight. Good or bad, I am not sure. Barbour has made some controversial remarks about growing up during the civil rights era, which he described as “not that bad.” Although most minorities don’t vote for Republicans, his comments still could pose a problem.
Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels has also been flirting with the idea of a potential presidential run. Daniels has stated he is considering a bid for the GOP presidential nomination and will announce his decision before the end of April unless he has to call the Indiana General Assembly back for a special session. A poll of “political insiders” has suggested that Daniels is the frontrunner. Maybe the insiders think he is awesome, but many people in his own state want him out. Thousands of workers have gathered at the Indiana capital to protest Indiana’s version of a union busting bill, chanting catchy slogans like “Ditch Mitch.” Does anyone really believe this man has a shot at the White House?
Finally, we have Jon Huntsman—the man you have likely never heard of. Huntsman, a former Utah governor and current U.S. ambassador to China, is leaving his ambassador role on April 30th. Huntsman has hinted about a possible presidential bid earlier in the year and many feel he could be a strong challenger to Obama if he got past the primaries. Of course, Huntsman would have a huge uphill climb if he were to mount a presidential bid. He served under the enemy—the Obama administration. President Obama has also sung Huntsman’s praises, which would not look good to the hard core right. And Obama knows that. “I’m sure that him having worked so well with me will be a great asset in any Republican primary,” Obama joked in January during a joint news conference with Chinese President Hu Jintao.
We still have more. Check out the next part in our series for even more possible Republican challengers.