GOP Presidential Primary

GOP Presidential Primary

Radio show host Herman Cain says voters 'looking for something new' in 2012

Conservative talk radio host and businessman Herman Cain predicted Thursday that voters are ready to embrace a new type of presidential candidate in 2012 — the "problem-solving" outsider, which he hopes to represent this primary season.

"The opening for us is in the changing political landscape," Cain, a conservative black Republican, told The Ballot Box. "We saw it in what happened on November 2. This sleeping giant called the American people has awakened and they're looking for something new. That's our opening."

Cain formed a presidential exploratory committee Wednesday, officially jump-starting what would be the longest of long shot bids for the presidency.


Pawlenty: Reaction to Tucson shooting could 'chill' debate

Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R) warned the reaction to the Tucson shooting could dampen free speech.  

"We got to be really careful here, because if you start saying: 'You can say this, you can't say that, you can use that tone, you can't use that tone.' Then pretty soon, you know, you start to discourage, maybe chill, intimidate," he said during an appearance on the "Daily Show" Wednesday.

"I even caught myself today, I was talking a little bit about hockey fights and public policy and I thought, 'Oh, maybe I shouldn't bring that up now.'"

Host Jon Stewart and Pawlenty then engage in a 20-minute debate about the different reactions by the conservative movement to the Bush and Obama administrations and the role of government.

When it ended, Stewart said: "You know what's crazy, I'm not sure that you and I really disagree, do we?"

"Yeah," Pawlenty responded dryly.

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Santorum heading to S.C. for speech at anti-abortion march

Rick Santorum will make his eighth trip to South Carolina on Saturday as the Pennsylvania Republican continues his courtship of conservatives while exploring a potential presidential bid.

Santorum will address an anti-abortion rally in Columbia on Saturday before traveling to Aiken to speak at a county GOP lunch on Monday, according to release. He'll also meet with local officials during the trip.

The former senator has moved to capture the attention of socially conservative Republicans in early primary states while his 2012 potential rivals for their support remain on the sidelines

Ahead of his trip to South Carolina, Santorum was in New Hampshire, where on Tuesday he launched a series of house parties hosted by former Senate candidate Ovide Lamontagne's Granite Oath PAC.

—Shane D'Aprile contributed to this post


Republicans could have pick of unconventional White House candidates

Republicans could have their most diverse field of presidential candidates to choose from next year.

Herman Cain, a prominent African-American businessman, has formed a presidential exploratory committee and is considering launching a bid for the GOP nod.

Cain, the former CEO of Godfather's Pizza, isn't a household name like some of the other possible contenders, but he's not intimidated by the competition.

"People who say that Herman Cain has no chance of winning the nomination for the Republican Party or win the in presidency — I simply say, 'Thank you,'" he told CNN. "Because all my life I have been in situations where I wasn't supposed to become VP of Pillsbury, I wasn't supposed to be able to turn Godfather's Pizza around. I wasn't supposed to succeed in climbing the corporate ladder in corporate America. So to the people who say I don't have a chance I say, 'Thank you.' Because that inspires me."

Cain has been considering a bid for a few months.

"I would represent that unconventional, non-establishment candidate that a lot of people are looking for," Cain, a conservative black Republican, told The Ballot Box last month.

The conservative talk-radio host is a bonafide Tea Party rock star who's a regular at their events and serves as a commentator on Fox News. He’s also visited the early voting states of Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina.

In addition to Cain, the 2012 GOP presidential field might include former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson, a staunch advocate for legalizing marijuana, and Fred Karger, an openly gay retired political consultant from California.

(h/t GOP 12)

-- Shane D'Aprile contributed to this post.


GOP White House field needs to dethrone Huckabee in Iowa

A recent survey shows Mike Huckabee remains the darling of Iowa Republicans.

The former Arkansas governor has been taciturn about whether he plans to run again in 2012 for the GOP presidential nomination, but that hasn't tempered enthusiasm for him in the lead-off caucus state. 

Huckabee, who came out on top in the 2008 Iowa caucuses, remains the front-runner, according to a new survey by Public Policy Polling. He took 30 percent of the vote compared to 18 percent for Mitt Romney, who was runner-up in 2008. 

Huckabee won Iowa in 2008 with 34 percent of support from delegates to 25 percent for Romney, who outspent his rival by millions of dollars. 

Sarah Palin was in third in the PPP poll, with 15 percent of the vote, while Newt Gingrich took 13 percent and Texas Rep. Ron Paul had 6 percent.

Former Minnestoa Gov. Tim Pawlenty had support from only 4 percent of respondents, while 3 percent said they were backing Sen. John Thune (S.D.). Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels was backed by only 1 percent.

PPP, a Democratic-leaning firm, surveyed 494 usual Iowa Republican primary voters from Jan. 7-9. The poll's margin of error was 4.4 percent.

Moreover, the poll showed that Huckabee was the second choice of a plurality of respondents — another good sign if he decides to run again. Should their first-choice candidates fail to become viable at the precinct caucuses, 19 percent said they'd gravitate to Huckabee, 9 percent said Romney, 13 percent said Palin and 12 percent said Gingrich.


Sen. Rubio not tempted by '12 VP nod

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio would turn down the chance of being on the 2012 Republican presidential ticket. 

The newly elected Republican said he has no interest in being his party's vice presidential nominee. 

He explained his reasoning to Panama City radio host Burnie Thompson: "To be the senator from Florida is a big job. In addition to the votes you take in Washington of national importance, our state has a multitude of issues. 

"I mean, it will soon be the third largest state in the country and perhaps the most complex in the country in terms of the set of issues it faces. In order to do that job, and do it well, you've got have to have 100 percent focus on it," Rubio said, according to the St. Petersburg Times. 

"You don't have time to sit around and daydream. ... I want to be a U.S. Senator because I believe I can make a difference from that position. ... It's flattering sometimes, but that's about it."

Rubio is one of the most prominent new Republican members of Congress, having defeated Gov. Charlie Crist and Democrat Kendrick Meek in a three-way race. His candidacy drew national attention and became a cause celebre for the Tea Party movement. 


Sen. Thune to address Missouri GOP

South Dakota Sen. John Thune (R) will travel Saturday to Missouri to give the keynote speech at the state GOP's annual dinner.

Thune is often mentioned as a possible 2012 presidential candidate, but he's made relatively few maneuvers toward a run as other possible contenders are increasingly jockeying for attention.    

Missouri's primary isn't in the early 2012 window, but the state's Republicans are still influential in the nominating process.

"Over the years, Missouri’s Lincoln Days celebration has attracted some of the biggest names in national politics," David Cole, chairman of the Missouri Republican Party, said in a statement. "This year, we are excited that Senator John Thune will share his vision of our party’s future with Missouri’s committed Republican volunteers and activists."

Leigh Anne Garren, head of the Missouri Association of Republicans, said a big crowd will await Thune on Saturday. 

“We expect hundreds of conservative activists and elected officials from all across the state to join us in Springfield and are thrilled that Senator John Thune will be delivering the keynote address," she said.

Thune said he was "honored" to speak at the Lincoln Days dinner.