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Ron Paul, Herman Cain et al: Why are so many GOP candidates running?

After Mitt Romney and RIck Perry, the polls indicate that few of the other GOP 2012 presidential candidates are drawing much support. DCDecoder looks at what motivates Ron Paul, Herman Cain, Buddy Roemer, and the rest to run.

By DCDecoder / September 27, 2011

GOP Debaters: Rep. Ron Paul, (R) of Texas, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, former Massachusetts Gov.Mitt Romney, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R) of Minn., and businessman Herman Cain before the Republican Party of Florida presidential candidates debate in September 2011.

Scott Audette /Reuters



POLITICO’s Reid Epstein and Ericka Bolstad of McClatchy put together very similar stories in recent days asking a simple question: What the heck are all of these no-shot presidential contenders doing in the GOP field?

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Before the sparks fly, Decoder sympathizes - sort of - with Ron Paul supporters who are melting down right now at the suggestion that Paul belongs in this group. Yes, he polls above everyone else in the POLITICO photo montage shown above. And we would not put him remotely in the same category as, say, Buddy Roemer (anyone heard of him? We think not). But when it comes to Paul’s actual chances of winning the nomination… C’mon. It’s not going to happen.

Candidate by candidate, here is the DCDecoder take on why GOP presidential hopefuls – not named Rick Perry or Mitt Romney – are still hanging in there.

Ron Paul:

If you don’t think Paul is in it to win it, then he might be engaged to further the libertarian cause for his son, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul (R). Paul’s “pretty motivated to win now,” Paul’s New Hampshire campaign chairman, state Sen. Jim Forsythe, told POLITICO. “But I know a lot of people in the movement are looking at Rand Paul further down the road.”

Gary Johnson:

Beat Ron/Rand Paul to the punch as the libertarian movement’s next standard bearer. Johnson’s campaign manager told POLITICO: “Ron Paul is 76 years old, this is wearing him out. A lot of people will see that Ron is a fantastic prophet, and he’ll need an Aaron at some point. I think that’s the way it’s going to go.”

Herman Cain:

Elevate himself to “party elder” status. Cain, who has spent 0 percent of his life up to this point as a politician, could ensconce himself as a thought leader and part of the public face of a segment of the Republican party. (Also, he’s selling a book).

Rick Santorum:


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