The race for the Republican presidential nomination is more reminiscent of the Democratic race for the White House, Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour (R) said Friday.

Barbour, himself an erstwhile candidate for president, said the wide-open nature of the race made it seem more like a traditionally Democratic contest than a Republican one.

"It's the most open nomination in my career for a Republican nomination," Barbour said on CNBC. "It actually seems kind of like a Democrat nomination, where there are a whole lot of candidates, and somebody like Jimmy Carter or Bill Clinton can come from near the back of the pack and win."

A number of political observers have noted that the Republican field lacks a candidate who's perceived as having waited his or her "turn" to get the nomination. A number of GOP primaries in recent political history saw a presumed front-runner or heir apparent enter the race, and eventually win the nomination.

The uncertain terrain perhaps explains why some of the candidates have had a hard time raising the big bucks necessary to sustain a presidential campaign, Barbour said. The Mississippi governor, who's regarded as a GOP political guru, expressed worry that President Obama's campaign would have millions on hand to spend against the eventual GOP nominee by the time he or she wins the race.

"I do think one reason that the money-raising is slower is it's a very large field," Barbour said. "I think there's a lot of Republicans, including donors, who are on the sidelines, who are waiting to see the thing develop and firm up a little more."