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Top Dark Horse Candidates for a Brokered Convention

by Kymberly Bays, published

Republican National Convention

The Republican primary race stretches on. None of the current candidates appear willing to drop out. At the same time, none of the candidates appear on track to accrue the 1,144 delegates needed to secure the party's nomination prior to the Republican National Convention in June.

That leaves us on track for a contested and/or brokered convention. It's a politico's dream scenario and would be the first such event since 1952. Recall the television networks complaining during past election cycles about covering "boring" party conventions? The networks would fall over themselves to cover a brokered convention. Wolf Blitzer's head would explode.

With a real convention dynamic, deals would actually have to be made, party platform debated, and best of all, the entire process wouldn't be a long partisan infomercial.

Many people, especially Republicans and especially Mitt Romney & Co., hate the idea of a brokered convention. That's because there is a remote possibility someone not currently running could emerge as the party's nominee. Such a candidate would face challenges, like fundraising, last-minute organizing and name recognition. But the question is: could they beat President Obama?

Here's some of the names being considered:

Mitch Daniels

Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels is one of the most frequently mentioned players in a hypothetical Compromise Candidate scenario. While his response to the President's State of the Union in January was underwhelming to some, he is a well-liked, well-respected conservative leader. In the past he served under George W. Bush as Director of the Office of Management and Budget, as well as CEO of the Hudson Institute, a conservative think tank. He also has experience as a Senior Vice President for pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly.

He was once a prime potential presidential candidate for the GOP. He appeals to many different types of Republicans and could be just the candidate to unite a splintered party. In March 2011, he won an Oregon straw poll ahead of potential Republican rivals Mitt Romney and Sarah Palin. However, he ultimately declined to run citing "family constraints".

His calm demeanor could pose a problem for garnering enthusiasm should he become the candidate. He was also a member of the Bush administration and that fact could be an easy target for the Obama campaign.

Jeb Bush

Also on many Republican's minds, is former Florida governor Jeb Bush. Before dismissing him due to his last name, consider the following: he's a popular governor from battleground Florida; he's more moderate than President Bush 43; he speaks Spanish and his wife is Latina. These are all big deals, as Hispanics will make up more of the electorate in the fall than in any year before. Jeb Bush has a chance of capturing this segment of voters away from Obama, unlike any of the current candidates in the field.

Jeb Bush has repeatedly said he will not jump into the race. Still, people speculate that he would reconsider in a brokered convention situation. Then again, his last name. Too soon? Many probably say yes.

Marco Rubio

Fellow Floridian Senator Marco Rubio is a young star in the Republican Party. His candidacy would bring many of the same benefits that Jeb Bush offers: he's well-liked and his Cuban background appeals to Hispanic voters. He also gets Tea Party support. Some say a Bush/Rubio ticket would be ideal, but Rubio has rejected a potential vice-president candidacy.

However, if you look at the statements he's made about the 2012 elections, he's only specifically said he's not interested in running as VP, which leaves the door just slightly open for him as a draft nominee.

Chris Christie

There's no one included on Compromise Candidate lists who has emphatically denied and denounced the chance of him running more than Chris Christie. The press conferences have been plenty but the New Jersey Governor has repeatedly said NO.

Still, Gov. Christie could pull down sizable amounts of Democratic votes, not unlike Dr. Ron Paul. He would easily gain support from Romney and Gingrich delegates, arguably from Paul's as well. Only Santorum supporters would be leery given Christie's lack of hard-line social policies.

Gov. Christie is from New Jersey, the state most loathed by Americans as a whole and a state he's unlikely to win against Obama. Losing your home state in a presidential race is a no-no. He can be polarizing, both his outspokenness and stature could turn people off.

Paul Ryan

Clearly, the Wisconsin congressman is a future candidate, barring any controversies, for 2016 and beyond. But could the desperation of an unsatisfied party base thrust him onto the national election stage this summer?

He's young and as the chairman of the House Budget Committee, he's made headlines for his federal budget proposals. He will likely be in the spotlight towards summer, just when the Convention kicks off.

Historically, congressmen don't win the White House. His home state also leans blue in presidential years, so there's a chance he wouldn't even carry his own state.

Sarah Palin

Only in her dreams.


Are these figures potential candidates in your opinion? Do you have your own names in mind?

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