Eight Possible Conservative Presidential Candidates for 2020

What Republicans Will Run for the Presidency in 2020?

US Senator Marco Rubio. Chip Somodeville - Getty Images

Now that the 2016 nominating contest is over - and reality TV star Donald Trump the presumptive nominee - it's time for a way-to-early look ahead to who might consider running in 2020 for the Republican nomination. While the 2012 primary field was considered to be relatively weak, the 2016 race promised to have a much more dynamic group as members of the 2010 conservative tea party movement aimed for the next level. That didn't work out, and 2020 presidential candidates may have an even larger field. Since the list will be large, we will break it into a list of more conservative and tea party candidates, and a list of more establishment types.

Ted Cruz

Ted Cruz was the 2016 runner-up to Donald Trump. He will likely not be willing to sit around in the senate, and 2020 seems like a no-brainer. What would a 2020 campaign look like after his 2016 strategy mostly backfired and he lost the angry "anti-establishment" voters, evangelicals, and southerners to Trump.

Marco Rubio

Marco Rubio is the rare candidate who had been a favorite of both the tea party and the establishment movements within the GOP, and could be one of the few candidates acceptable to both. His appeal is broad and he has the potential to reach across demographics. Rubio finished 3rd in the delegate count in 2016 after being unable to breakaway from the "establishment" competition early enough in the process.

Paul Ryan

It was rumored that Paul Ryan was considering a run in 2012. While he obviously didn't run, he did join Mitt Romney's failed campaign. His impact overall was minimal. Though a favorite of many establishment Republicans, many consider him to "wonky" and not passionate enough. Believe it or not, seeming too serious and qualified for a job seems to be a negative in this age of presidential politics. Ryan did become the Speaker of the House after John Boehner stepped down in 2015, a good position to launch a presidential run from.

Sarah Palin

The other most recent VP candidate, Sarah Palin, probably would have run in 2012 if she were running at all. Her candidacy would have filled a glaring hole in the field and - given the relative weakness of the candidates - she probably could have won the nomination. In 2016, she didn't run but became an early endorser of Donald Trump. Palin has mostly dabbled in reality television since abandoning the governorship, so she's probably the perfect Trump-esque candidate for 2020.

Scott Walker

Scott Walker won the Wisconsin Governor race in 2010, then faced a union-led recall election in 2012 and won bigger than the first time. Walker is a favorite within the party for being a strong conservative reformer and taking on unions. He won re-election again in 2014 before mounting a presidential bid. After entering as a frontrunner, his campaign imploded early on and he dropped out long before the first votes were case.

Nikki Haley

Nikki Haley is the governor of South Carolina who first won election in 2010 and won a re-election  landslide in 2014. She gave the State of the Union Response to President Obama in January, 2016.

Susanna Martinez

The one-time Democrat Susanna Martinez is a well-liked, no-nonsense governor of New Mexico. She is the first Hispanic female Governor in the United States. Martinez is a conservative governor in a blue state with many positives that could lead to a viable campaign.

Rand Paul

Don't be surprised to see the continuation of a Paul in GOP presidential primaries. Unlike his father, Rand Paul is viewed as a bit more mainstream though they share most of the same ideology. Paul was clearly tempted to run in 2012 and did so in 2016. If Paul runs again in 2020, his challenge would be whether to run more of an anti-establishment campaign like his father, or a more establishment-friendly one.