And They’re Off

Bookmark and Share Think its too early for Republicans to start campaigning for President? Think again. Around this time in 2007, Hillary Clinton was preparing to announce her candidacy for the Democratic nomination. Senator Barack Obama was 5 weeks away from making his announcement. On February 13th of 2007, in Dearborn, Michigan, it was Mitt Romney who announced his candidacy at the Ford Museum. It was January 28th when Mike Huckabee announced his campaign intentions on Meet the Press and January 31st, Senator Joe Biden did the same. Earlier in the month of January Democrat Senator Chris Dodd made his official announcement on the 11th, while on the 20th Senator Sam Brownback made his official announcement and on the 25th, Republican Representative Duncan Hunter did so too.

So No, it is not too early to begin covering the moves of the potential candidates for President in 2012. And not just for the Republicans either.

Democrats should be looking out for challengers to President Obama.

After his unusual election night concession speech, soon to be former Wisconsin Senator Russ Feingold could demonstrate what he meant when he said now its on to 2012 and possibly challenge the troubled President from the left. Then there are Democrats on the right of the President who could come in to play. But the most potentially damaging of all possibilities could come from the self described progressive wing of the Party which Hillary Clinton claims the mantle of.

A challenge to President from his Party still remains unlikely though it is a remote possibility. And if President Obama fails to improve his standing and the economy a late challenge that could embarrass but not defeat him, is very possible.

But for now, the activity is on the Republican side.

As indicated by White House 2012, the potential field for the G.O.P. is a large one. And while there are three very real undeclared candidates campaigning..Romney, Pawlenty, and Gary Johnson, the former Governor of New Mexico, a dozen or more others are threatening to make their decisions in the spring. Such a relatively late start is not necessarily a bad thing. While we all knew he was running, John McCain did not make his announcement official until mid April of 2011.

Right now though, many possible candidates are waiting to see if the elephant in the room, or in her case, the Mamma Grizzly in the room, roars with her own decision to run for President. Sarah Palin has the attention of the people and the presence of personality to take away the steam that many other potential candidates would need to be successful. As such, many like John Thune and even Mike Pence are waiting to see what she does.

In all I considers there to be more than 20 very real possible candidates. They include Haley Barbour, Rick Santorum, Mike Pence, Newt Gingrich, Mitt Romney, Gary Johnson, .Tim Pawlenty, John Thune, George Pataki, Mike Huckabee, Mitch Daniels and the perennial candidate, Ron Paul. Of course not all will make an official run and others may not enter the race till maybe as late as September. In fact if none of the officla candidates get significant traction in the months following their announcement, some candidates not on y list are likely to throw their hats in to the ring. Someone like Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan could be one of those. As the incoming Chairman of the House Budget Committee, he will be one of the most important legislators in D.C. from both major Parties and if he is not hearing any of the right things on the issue of the budget from any of the declared candidates, he may just become one himself. Another name to watch for if he does not like what he is seeing and hearing is Donald Trump.

Trump probably wont go the distance but he could make the difference for people like Mitt Romney and even Tim Pawlenty.

Right now, aside from the given candidacies of both Romney and Pawlenty, the big names to look out for are Haley Barbour, Mitch Daniels, Newt Gingrich, Sarah Palin, John Thune, and Mike Pence. Any configuration of these names entering or not entering the race will make a big difference in the end. If Daniels does not run, which is very likely, Barbour, Romeny, and Pence will benefit greatly. If Barbour does not run, Romney and Palin could have the most to gain. If all of them run, well then look for the 2012 primary season to be a long and bloody one. In the meantime, look at who is doing what in the first two months of the new year. That will tell you who is most likely running.

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