Monday, May 23, 2011
The race for the Republican presidential nomination gained some long-awaited clarity Sunday when Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels ended months of speculation with an early-morning email alerting supporters that he won’t run.
The Daniels decision to skip a White House bid has turned the attention of uncommitted Republican donors and activists to those candidates who actually are in the race, including former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, who announced his candidacy in a video Sunday night and plans a speech on Monday.
But Mr. Daniels’ announcement also immediately increased the clamoring in some GOP quarters for other candidates to enter the race. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Texas Gov. Rick Perry and former Alaska governor and vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin are all being urged by various GOP factions to run, though the prospects of any of them choosing to do so didn’t appear strong.
Still, the decisions to decline to run by a whole group of high-profile potential candidates—including former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, businessman Donald Trump, Rep. Mike Pence and Sen. John Thune—have left many Republicans thinking another shoe is yet to drop, but not having a good sense of what it might be.
Eric Woolson, a strategist for Mr. Pawlenty, said the Daniels withdrawal won’t end speculation about other candidates, because some activists who were pressing Mr. Daniels to join the race would move on to other targets.
But, he added, “it is getting very late in the process” for new prospects to jump in. Many of those activists will take a second look—”or even a first look”—at the existing candidates and realize the field is stronger than believed, he said. That field is heavy with former governors, a proven formula for a strong nominee, he said.