If it's not Jeb Bush: Top 10 prospects to win GOP nomination

Ted Cruz may have been the first to announce a run for the presidency, but John Kasich connects with middle class voters, cares for the poor, and balances budgets. 

Jim Cole/AP
Gov. John Kasich (R) of Ohio speaks at the Republican Leadership Summit on Saturday in Nashua, N.H. (AP Photo/Jim Cole) Jim Cole

If not Bush, who?

If I were a betting man, I would be that Jeb Bush would win the GOP nomination and that he would face off against Hillary Clinton. Sounds kind of boring, but after eight years of President Obama, boring sounds great.

But what if it’s not Bush. Who would it be?

Here is my Top 10 list, from worst to first:

10) Ted Cruz: I don’t think that the junior senator from Texas will get the nomination, but since he was the first to announce, you have to put him on the list.

9) Ben Carson: I get asked more about the doctor-turned-activist than anybody else on the field. I think he will go the way of Herman Cain, but you never know.

8) Mike Pence: The Indiana governor was near the top of my list, but has been in free fall after mishandling the Religious Freedom bill that he first signed and then back away from.

7) Chris Christie: The New Jersey governor was seriously hurt by Bridgegate. He is making a valiant effort to make a comeback and he still has big money donors, but I think the damage was too great.

6) Rand Paul: The junior senator from Kentucky has tried to broaden the base of the party, which is a worthy goal. He has about the same amount of experience that Mr. Obama had when he ran, which I think is a liability.

5) Rick Santorum: Usually, the second place contender is the next in line for the GOP. Santorum can’t be underrated as a dogged campaigner, but I doubt he has the cash to make the effort worth it.

4) Rick Perry: He had a lousy first run as president, but he is a far better politician than he gets credit for. He has to win the battle for Texas against Ted Cruz, but he could be very formidable.

3) Marco Rubio: Plenty of smart people think that Rubio has what it takes to get a promotion. He is very talented, although I still think he is a bit green.

2) Scott Walker: The almost-Marquette graduate has executive experience, which I think is essential, and he has been able to compete and win in a blue state. He also has hired plenty of talent.

1) John Kasich: The voluble and hyper Ohio governor has succeeded consistently in his career. He actually balanced the budget when he was Budget Committee chairman. How many people can say that? He has a great personal story, connects with middle class voters, cares about taking care of the poor, lives out his faith, and is a terrific communicator. If it’s not Bush, I think it will be Kasich.

John Feehery publishes his Feehery Theory blog at http://www.thefeeherytheory.com/.

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