Potential Establishment Candidates for the 2016 Presidential Nomination

Who Might Run in 2016?

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie
Jessica Kourkounis/Getty Images News/Getty Images

In 2016, the Republican field for president is expected to be quite competitive. Earlier we took a look at the more conservative options for the 2016 field. Here, we will take a look at the more establishment-friendly or moderate Republican candidates. (This isn’t to say all of these candidates are liberal and would be a bad choice. Many are conservative but simply more establishment-entrenched or are not viewed as being part of the core conservative movement by activists.) And let us know who you would pick, too.

Chris Christie

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is known for his in-your-face style and is easily the most well-known governor in the country. Christie has stood up to the unions, is pro-life, has signed tax cuts, and has run as fairly conservative administration. But his problems with the conservative base: Christie embraces moderate candidates and ignores conservative ones, he supports gun control, and has little connection with the religious core of the base, which has been a crucially absent and costly situation in recent presidential campaigns.

Jeb Bush

A two-term Governor of Florida, Jeb Bush could try to make it number three for the Bush Dynasty. And let’s be honest, Americans love dynasties, political or otherwise. (And after eight years of Obama, the mood could entirely swing from Bush fatigue to “more please.” Bush is strongly pro-life, a strong activist for school choice, and has had great success in attracting a variety of voters.
He has been critical of the tea party and simply being a Bush would likely be a barrier in a potential rub.

Rick Santorum

Rick Santorum is a fiscally moderate, socially conservative former senator from Pennsylvania appears almost certain to run for president a second time in 2016. The final “not Romney” candidate to emerge in the 2012 primary has attempted to attach himself to the tea party movement and he has positioned himself as significantly more conservative than at any point before 2012.
Whether his support in the 2012 primary was real and is something that could be built upon, or because he just happened to be there, could be answered in 2016.

Jon Huntsman

The oft-mocked Republican from Utah was viewed as obnoxious, elitist, and condescendingly moderate by conservative activists during the 2012 GOP primary. He supports the full-throated DREAM Act supported by liberals in congress, and rejects most passionate cases for conservatism. Like Romney, he seems content on completely ignoring the large faith-based conservative voting core. The moderate of moderates joined with recent-GOP outcast Charlie Crist as part of liberal-to-moderate group “No Labels.”

Mitch Daniels

The former Governor of Indiana was the great hope of the GOP establishment during the 2012 primary. Daniels was a solid conservative Governor and acted a lot of good legislation during his two terms in office. However, he basically succumbed to Democrats in the legislature who walked out and left the state when the Republican-led government was set to pass a set of conservative legislation. Conservatives were not impressed, and were much more moved by the actions taken by Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin when faced with a similar situation (in a far less politically friendly state).