Chris Christie’s loss is __________’s gain

Article Highlights

  • Who’s going to run in 2016? Who isn’t? The race for the Republican nomination is wide open. @rameshponnuru

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  • Rand Paul’s supporters think he will be Ron Paul plus respectability. But he may be Ron Paul without fervent support

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  • Off most pundits’ radar screens are some 2016 GOP potential candidates: Mike Pence, John Kasich, Rob Portman

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Editor's note: Politico asked leading conservatives to fill in the blank on who could replace Chris Christie as the Republican presidential nominee frontrunner in 2016. Ramesh Ponnuru answered the question.

Who’s going to run? Who isn’t? The race for the Republican nomination is wide open. Chris Christie has been the frontrunner — but even before the traffic scandal, he was not far out front. And his response to the scandal is highlighting his most troubling trait, which is not bullying but impulsiveness.

Scott Walker sure seems to be getting ready to run. Republicans generally like him—but will he be the first choice for many of them?

Rand Paul’s supporters think he will be Ron Paul plus respectability. But could he end up being Ron Paul without the fervent support?

On paper, Rick Perry should be a strong candidate. Then again, on paper he should have been a strong candidate last time.

Ted Cruz is an old friend, but I have no inside knowledge about his plans. I’d be surprised if he didn’t run: He has a national fan base, and it grew rather than shrank during the shutdown last year. Inside the Beltway and among the party’s big donors it’s another story.

Off most pundits’ radar screens are some other potential candidates: Mike Pence, John Kasich, Rob Portman—and more. But to answer my earlier question: A few Republicans with large followings will sit 2016 out. Paul Ryan and Sarah Palin aren’t going to run, and probably Mike Huckabee won’t either.

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