By Simon McMurchie
Catlin Speak (Portland, Oregon)
In a phone call to donors and supporters late last week, Mitt Romney announced that he would not campaign for the 2016 Republican nomination. The news comes on the heels of weeks of speculation about his chances should he run in what would have been his third consecutive presidential election campaign.
Romney had been convinced he could rebrand himself and attract new voters with a new message next year, but unimpressive feedback from donors made it clear his chances weren’t good. The news has left his fellow Republican candidates reeling, and offers a good look at the state of the G.O.P.
Though Romney had lost the support of a significant portion of his base in the 2012 election, his announcement has freed up a lot of money that other candidates are looking to acquire.. The Washington Times has reported that many donors have already moved to support Jeb Bush, who officially announced his campaign not long before Romney did the opposite. Bush is considered by some to be an early frontrunner for the nomination, though the word early should be emphasized.
Still, there are some who feel that the G.O.P. is in need of a candidate from outside the traditional Republican narrative, a test which Bush, with two former Presidents in the family, fails. Romney, in his announcement, commented on the need for a “fresh face” for Republicans in 2016, a line many claimed was a swipe at Bush’s chances.
If Bush does indeed take up the position of the fiscally conservative and social moderate Republican candidate, he faces challengers from the fringe of the party. Senator Ted Cruz of Texas has been moving up in the G.O.P., and though there are those that doubt somebody with social views as drastically conservative as Cruz’s could win a national election, Cruz’s base in the Tea Party and among über-traditionalists is still strong.
Bush benefits from a decently regarded tenure as governor of Florida, and from being out of the national spotlight since he stepped down in 2007. Other candidates, like New Jersey governor Chris Christie, have recently been the focus of national attention for personal or political scandals, topics they’ll have to answer questions about during the campaign.
As the makeup of the voter population has shifted in the last decade and the G.O.P. has lost ground with youth and minority voters, party leaders are restless. Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker is a candidate that often gets brought up in the discussion of new party faces.
On ABC’s “Meet The Press,” Walker brought up the need for, “new leadership with big, bold, ideas, and the courage to act on them.” Despite the generic nature of that comment, it shows that Walker is attempting to brand himself as the Republican of the future.
The primaries are still a long way away, and a lot remains to be resolved. A recently announced Iowa caucus poll showed Bush with a slim lead over Walker at an unimpressive 16 percent to 15 percent. Continue checking CatlinSpeak for updates on the 2016 Presidential election.
Photo Credit: Dave Lawrence