Can a presidential candidate who hasn’t held any political office win the White House? Maybe, but it’s going to be “harder” than those who do have political experience, says Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus.
“I think it, just practically, can be more difficult on the candidate, but that doesn’t mean it’s something that Americans wouldn’t buy into,” he told a handful of reporters in a private meeting at the Conservative Political Action Conference.
Over a dozen potential Republican presidential candidates mulling 2016 runs, and some of them have never held elected office — most prominently, neurosurgeon Ben Carson and former Hewlett-Packard executive Carly Fiorina. (Fiorina did run for a California Senate seat in 2010, but lost to longtime incumbent Barbara Boxer).
“It’s harder, but I also think the environment is such that the traditional way of doing things isn’t necessarily the best way, and so I think it’s why we’re wide open on our side of the aisle,” Priebus continued.
Primary voters seem to be still making up their minds on whether they prefer someone politically battle-tested or not. While Wisconsin governor Scott Walker has led in recent polls, Carson has found himself within striking distance, finishing in the top three and above names like Ted Cruz of Texas, Marco Rubio of Florida, or former Texas governor Rick Perry.