With Daniels Out, What’s Next for the GOP?

by Andrew Stiles

Pundits and strategists weigh in on the significance of Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels’ decision not to run in 2012.

George Will on ABC’s This Week:

This caps an excellent week for one person, and that’s Tim Pawlenty. Huckabee out puts in play the evangelical Christian vote, which is almost half the vote in Republican primaries. So Tim Pawlenty is well-positioned.

Video here.

GOP strategist Matthew Dowd on This Week:

This is indicative. These candidates are making more news not running than running at a time, actually, when the president is as vulnerable as any president has been going into a re-elect in recent memory. His numbers are in the high 40s, he is immensely beatable right now and all of these credible candidates are not running…I think it’s really indicative right now of a Republican field not quite knowing where to go with this…

I think what you’re going to see in the next four or five months is suprising candiates who are going to get in who are not mentioned right now. I actually think that Gov. Perry in Texas is probably going to reconsider this. It seems to be a good moment for a guy that is very popular among [the] Tea Party, he’s very states-righty, very anti-federal government, can raise a ton of money. I think Gov. Christie in New Jersey is going to be pushed to reconsider this. I think there’s going to be some surprising entries into this race.

Video here.

GOP strategist Mike Murphy on Meet the Press:

For real voters, it hasn’t even begun yet, and I think there’s only one last Hamlet question, which is Christ Christie of New Jersey, who is a big Republican star. Will he take another look at a late entry, which I think is possible. That would shake up the race. If not, I think you’re going to have a lot of noise candidates around. But it’s going to be down to Romney, Huntsman, Pawlenty and then a kind of entertaining candidate who won’t get nominated — maybe Herman Cain.