In wake of Daniels announcement, will GOP turn to dream candidates?

Alex Pappas Political Reporter
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Mitch Daniels’ announcement that he’s not running for president means Republicans may turn up the pressure on dream candidates like Jeb Bush, Paul Ryan and Chris Christie.

“It would be unfair to call the current field a vacuum,” said William Kristol, the editor of the Weekly Standard, in a blog post. “But it doesn’t exactly represent an overflowing of political talent.”

He predicted that “the odds are better than 50-50 that both Rick Perry and Paul Ryan run,” referencing the Republican governor of Texas and Wisconsin congressman, respectively.

Kristol also speculated that former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and former United Nations Ambassador John Bolton “may not feel they have to decide until after Labor Day—or maybe even until October or even November.”

In a midnight email to supporters, Daniels, the governor of Indiana, suggested his decision not to run for president as a Republican was because of pressure from his family.

“In the end, I was able to resolve every competing consideration but one, but that, the interests and wishes of my family, is the most important consideration of all,” he said.

A presidential campaign would have also likely revived uncomfortable questions about his wife, Cheri, who once divorced Daniels and married another man before moving back to Daniels.

“I think this really does open the field for somebody else,” Paul Gigot of the Wall Street Journal said on Fox News Sunday, specifically mentioning Christie, Bush and Ryan.

He also said Ryan, a leader on GOP budget issues, will “think very hard on this.”

“If nobody is picking up his mantle, he’s going to think, ‘maybe I should,’” Gigot said.

Top tier candidates include former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, former ambassador to China Jon Huntsman and former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty. Others running include Herman Cain, the former CEO of Godfathers Pizza.

“It’s going to be down to Romney, Huntsman, Pawlenty and then kind of an entertaining candidate who won’t be nominated,” said Republican consultant Mike Murphy on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “One of them will emerge. Maybe it will be Herman Cain.”