Voters are looking for a shorter 2012 election cycle compared to past elections, RNC Chairman Reince Priebus said in explaining the relative absence of GOP presidential candidates.

Priebus said that it made sense to him that none of the major candidates has formally thrown his or her hat in the ring, save for Tim Pawlenty, the former governor of Minnesota.

"I think people are taking their time," Priebus said in a Web interview with NBC News. "I think people are taking their time because the American people are looking for a shorter cycle this time around."

Priebus cited the 2008 presidential cycle, in which candidates jumped into the race as soon as late 2006, as "maybe the case of not the best pre-primary season," but said he expected no shortage of candidates when the time comes.

Many of the candidates who are expected to run have refused so far to formally jump into the race. While declaring one's candidacy also allows a potential candidate to raise money and build infrastructure, it also costs plenty of money to run those operations and risks fatigue among staff.

"It's a matter of how much time and how much money all these candidates want to spend in winning the nomination. I think the media cycle's very fast; you can do a lot more in less time," Priebus said.

So absent have Republicans been from the presidential campaign that a debate planned for May, slated to be the first of the cycle, was pushed back to September, for fear of a lack of candidates.

Meanwhile, a number of long-shot candidates looking to win the media spotlight have flirted with running, and Priebus refused to rule any of them, including Donald Trump, out as serious candidates for the nomination.

"I think there's a lot of serious candidates that are going to be running for president," he said. "I think there's going to be a lot of people like Donald Trump, Tim Pawlenty, Haley — There will be plenty of candidates, I think, who are going to be testing the waters. Who gets in is anybody's guess."

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