Chris Christie for president? 14 Republicans who might run next time (+video)
Mitt who? The 2012 presidential election had barely ended when jockeying by Republicans began for 2016. The GOP has a history of nominating people who have run before, which could give heart to some familiar faces. But there’s also a crop of first-timers who could steal the show, including the in-your-face governor of New Jersey and a libertarian-leaning senator from Kentucky. Here's the latest lineup, with updates through Nov. 12, 2013.
1. Chris Christie
The charismatic, blunt-talking governor of New Jersey has only grown in national stature since hurricane Sandy devastated his state’s coast in October 2012. Governor Christie’s landslide reelection in November 2013 – in which he won a majority of the women’s vote, half of the Latino vote, and a third of Democratic votes – cemented his status as a top-tier candidate for 2016.
Post-reelection polls show Christie at or near the top of the large potential Republican field. In the RealClearPolitics.com average of major polls, Christie is tied for the lead with Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky at 15.3 percent among Republican primary voters. In short, the race is wide open.
To some Republicans, Christie is a perfect potential nominee. As governor of a blue state, he has shown he can work across the aisle, earning plenty of Democratic fans. To others, his embrace of President Obama during the Sandy crisis a week before the 2012 presidential election showed he’s politically suspect. In early January, his tirade against House Speaker John Boehner and the Republican majority for punting on Sandy relief money was decried by some conservatives as over the top.
In his victory speech Nov. 5, Christie addressed both New Jerseyans and a national audience.
"Tonight, a dispirited America, angry with their dysfunctional government in Washington, looks to New Jersey to say, 'Is what I think happening really happening? Are people really coming together?' " Christie said.
He deflects questions about the presidency by saying he’s focused on New Jersey. But he’s also quick to reject assertions he may be too heavy for a grueling presidential campaign. In May 2013, he had “lap band” surgery to help him lose weight.
As the standard-bearer for mainstream Republican pragmatism, Christie could do well in a general election. But getting to the nomination could be problematic. Among voters overall, Christie got the highest rating of any potential 2016 candidate from either party on a political “thermometer” test by the Quinnipiac poll. But among Republicans, Christie ranked eighth.