An Early Assessment of the 2012 GOP Presidential Race

Larry Sabato, the Presidential scholar at the University of Virginia, has come out with an early assessment of the 2012 Presidential race.

Expecting no challenge to President Obama for the Democratic nomination, he focuses on possible GOP candidates.  His conclusion is that the early front runner is Mitt Romney, but he also sees Sarah Palin, Mike Huckabee, Newt Gingrich, and Mark Sanford as likely challengers.  He also mentions Bobby Jindal, Tim Pawlenty, and Jon Huntsman.  Notice that all candidates mentioned by Sabato except for Newt Gingrich are or have been governors, and that four of them are Southerners, which seems the only strong base of the Republican party at this time.  It is quite a commentary that not one member of the Republican party in the House or Senate is on this list.

It seems to me that new blood is needed if the GOP is to have any chance to challenge President Obama in a serious way.   Certainly, at this point, it would seem likely that Obama will have an overwhelming advantage for reelection, but if Jon Huntsman or Tim Pawlenty were to emerge, it could be an interesting race.  However,  Huntsman as a Mormon and a moderate to boot will have problems, and Pawlenty is in the middle of the Minnesota Senate debacle and will soon be likely to make enemies whether he agrees or disagrees to sign the document certifying Al Franken, the Democrat,  as the winner of the Senate race over former Senator Norm Coleman.   Everyone else on this list has major negatives,  and even these two governors will have major challenges convincing the members of their party and the party leaders that they should be the nominee, let alone the country at large willing to vote to put them in the Oval Office.

Of course, a nominee could emerge who is not even being considered right now, and that is the excitement and the mystery of American politics, that one can never know three years ahead what the future shall be as far as the Oval Office is concerned!  So the next Presidential race has begun with this Sabato assessment and the move of Mitt Romney to New Hampshire!

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