Yipes! Dozens of Republicans are thinking of running for president!
OK, folks. Let’s have a show of hands here.
How many of you have thoughts or running for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016?
That could be a problem, as we see HERE:
GOP strategists are starting to worry that the sheer number of potential candidates for the party’s 2016 presidential nomination could give an advantage to Democrats.
More than two dozen Republicans are eyeing the GOP presidential nomination, while on the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton looks like she could coast to the crown.
Only a handful of Democrats are even circling Clinton, while the potential GOP field just continues to grow.
“To beat Hillary Clinton in 2016, you need a strong candidate,” GOP strategist Ford O’Connell said of his party’s 2016 contenders. “A crowded field has the potential to give Hillary a bigger leg up than she currently has.”
The contrast poses opportunities and threats for the GOP.
A winning candidate could emerge from a crowded primary stronger and battle tested, much as President Obama was strengthened from a 2008 primary fight with Clinton.
But a crowded primary could also weaken a GOP nominee by extending the fight and exhausting the eventual winner physically and financially.
Or, it could muddle things enough to allow a weaker nominee to emerge.
What’s clear right now is that Democrats and Republicans are looking at very different fields in 2016.
The GOP side is filled with well-known political names.
Sen. Rand Paul (Ky.) has repeatedly said he’s considering the race. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is expected by many to run, while Sen. Ted Cruz (Texas) has sent signals that he’ll be a candidate just four years after his election to the Senate.
Many think former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush will run, and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) had been seen as a strong contender before his image was bruised with the GOP base over immigration reform.
Three 2012 also-rans — Texas Gov. Rick Perry, former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum — are thought to be mulling the race.
Iowa Rep. Steve King sparked rumors this week of a possible White House bid by announcing a visit to early-primary state South Carolina, while Rep. Pete King (N.Y.) made news last month when he made public his own presidential ambitions.
Rep. Paul Ryan (Wis.) was his party’s vice presidential candidate in 2012, a spot that is usually a springboard to becoming a presidential candidate. Govs. John Kasich (Ohio) and Scott Walker (Wis.) also have their supporters.
Then there are long shots like Donald Trump, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and Rep. Michele Bachmann (Minn.).
Some see an advantage for the GOP in having a tougher primary field.
The advantage of a wide-open field is a “healthy” discussion of the future of the party, said GOP strategist John Feehery, a columnist for The Hill.
“It’s a fight for the soul of the party,” Feehery said. “It’s going to be a hell of a primary.”
Others argue that the more splintered the GOP field, the more likely a candidate will be pulled to the right, weakening them for the general election.