Presidential races

Big names to enter ’16 fight

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The 2016 presidential race in both parties is filling up with candidates. But the field isn’t set yet.

Several Democratic candidates may still challenge Hillary Clinton for their party’s nomination, while the GOP field of a dozen candidates is widely expected to grow to 16.

{mosads}And some of the people yet to join the race are big names.

Here’s a look at the candidates that could still get in:


Scott Walker

The Wisconsin governor looms over the GOP field.

He rocketed into the top tier of candidates after a well-received speech in Iowa earlier this year, and his support has proven durable.

Walker is essentially tied with former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush atop the polls nationally, according to the RealClearPolitics (RCP) average.

In Iowa, Walker has a healthy 8.5 percentage point advantage over the next closest contender. Many point to Walker’s strength in the Hawkeye State as evidence of his appeal to both the establishment and grassroots conservative wings of the party. 

Walker has said he will announce his decision on whether to enter the race once the Wisconsin legislature finalizes a budget. 

That’s expected to happen towards the end of June, with Walker expected to join the race in mid-July.

Chris Christie

The New Jersey governor stumbled into 2015 badly bruised by a scandal involving closed lanes on the George Washington Bridge — apparently shut as retribution against a local mayor who did not endorse Christie’s reelection.

According to a Public Policy Polling survey released this week, Christie has the worst favorability rating in the entire GOP field. Many polls show that Christie trails only Donald Trump as the candidate Republicans say they won’t even consider voting for.

Christie has sought to regain stride by taking his town-hall show on the road and camping out in New Hampshire — a likely must win for the governor.

Republicans say his political skills should not be underestimated, but it’s difficult to overstate how badly his star has fallen.

Still, Christie’s political team is in place and he appears likely to enter the race.

“For me, it’s the bottom of the eighth, top of the ninth [for a 2016 decision],” Christie told earlier this month. “But in terms of the whole race? Barely in the first.”

John Kasich

The Ohio governor has become a favorite dark horse candidate to win the Republican race.

In April, he launched a political committee to assist in fundraising and pay for his increasingly frequent trips to early-voting states.

He’s urged donors to keep their powder dry ahead of his decision, while pulling together a political team to transition to a campaign.

On the surface, there doesn’t appear be room for another moderate, establishment-friendly candidate with positions on immigration and Common Core that are at odds with the GOP base.

If the GOP debates were held today, Kasich would not qualify. He currently sits in 13th place nationally, according to the RCP average, taking only 1.8 percent support. Only the top 10 candidates will qualify for the first GOP debates.

Still, one recent poll showed Kasich leading Hillary Clinton in Ohio, a swing-state that will be critical in determining the outcome of the 2016 general election.

And Kasich has cited Jeb Bush’s inability to stampede to the nomination as evidence there’s a thirst for an establishment alternative. He believes he can fill that role.

“I’m the most experienced, period,” Kasich told reporters in Washington last month.

The Washington Post reports that Kasich is likely to enter the race in July or August.

Bobby Jindal

The Louisiana governor has a major announcement planned for next Wednesday, when he’ll likely make his candidacy official.

Jindal is a true long-shot and barely registers in most polls.

He’s fashioned himself as a conservative firebrand and chief critic of the Obama administration on issues like religious freedom, which is important to social conservatives.

It’s a message that could resonate with voters in Iowa, where he’ll be competing with Sen. Ted Cruz (Texas), Ben Carson, and former Sen. Rick Santorum (Penn.) in the socially conservative lane of candidates.

But Jindal will have an uphill climb just qualifying for the GOP debates. He’s currently in 15th place nationally, according to the RCP average, taking only 1 percent support.


Jim Webb

The former Virginia senator got an early jump on the Democratic field, announcing last November he would explore a bid for the presidential nomination.

Since then he’s been quiet, leading many to question whether he’s seriously considering getting in.

Webb is a Vietnam veteran and has a sharp progressive message focused on income inequality.

But he’s polling dismally even by the low standards of the second tier of candidates chasing Clinton. Webb takes 1.6 percent support nationally, according to the RCP average, leading only former Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee.

Earlier this week, Webb said that he’ll make an announcement about his presidential plans “within the next two weeks,” according to Buzzfeed.

Vice President Biden

Biden will announce his presidential plans by Aug. 1, according to a report this week in U.S. News & World Report.

The vice president is mourning the death of his son, former Delaware attorney general Beau Biden, who passed away last month from brain cancer.

The U.S. News report says Biden has still not taken a presidential run off the table.

He would instantly become one of the top tier of challengers to Hillary Clinton should he get in. Biden is currently tied with Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders nationally for second place, according to the RCP average.

Still, Clinton is the prohibitive favorite, leading by 47 points, according to the RCP average. 

Tags 2016 Democratic primary 2016 Republican primary Bobby Jindal Chris Christie Hillary Clinton Jim Webb Joe Biden John Kasich Scott Walker

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