Top Ten Republican Dark Horse Presidential Candidates

While the race for 2012 remains two years away, candidates will be making announcements for their exploratory committees as soon as this winter. President Obama announced his in mid January of 2007. Hillary Clinton, John McCain and Mitt Romney announced just days after.

While widely speculated Republican candidates Sarah Palin, Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee and Newt Gingrich are already being polled against Obama (and doing well), many voters have been asking me the same thing, “Who else?”

New candidates and talent will be popping up like Jiffy-Pop after midterm elections in November. If Republicans do well, fame will shine on faces Americans may never have considered. Think of the national attention that Scott Brown received after he took Ted Kennedy’s seat. Not one American knew who Brown was prior to Kennedy’s death, but after he took Massachusetts he was a national Republican hero.

Here are ten candidates (in no particular order) you may not have considered but should:

1. Jan Brewer, Arizona Governor: Political culture is shifting before our eyes, and, after primaries this summer, headlines have dubbed 2010 “The Year of the Woman.” With tensions growing on immigration reform and Arizona’s new tough illegal immigration law, Brewer has been front and center. A new CBS poll finds that 57% of Americans believe that Brewer’s law is “about right,” and 17% say that it “doesn’t go far enough.”  Brewer has a lot of things going for her with conservative and shouldn’t be overlooked.

2. Chris Christie, New Jersey Governor: Christie was the first Republican to win a statewide election in New Jersey in 12 years when he took governorship. The former lawyer chose not to live in the official governors mansion and has been praised by Republicans recently for his no nonsense attitude toward cutting spending and his stance against teachers unions.

3. John Kasich, Former Congressman and media personality: Kasich is running for Governor of Ohio and currently holds a small lead over incumbent Democrat Ted Strickland. Kaisch is liked by many conservatives and popular for his Fox News appearances and guest hosting for giants such as Rush Limbaugh and Bill O’Reilly.

4. Mitch Daniels, Indiana Governor: Daniels is considered by many insiders to be a rising star among conservatives. While Daniels has not been polled against Obama with some of the more popular potential candidates and has denied any aspirations to run for higher office, several media outlets have deemed him a possible candidate. Daniels has a strong reputation of being a financial reformer, a skill set that America will be looking for in 2012.

5. Nikki Haley, South Carolina Gubernatorial Candidate: If this really is the “Year of the Woman” all of the right cards are in Haley’s favor. A self proclaimed Tea Party Movement supporter, businesswoman Haley was endorsed by current SC Governor Mark Sanford’s own wife Jenny after Sanford became mixed up in a highly publicized marital affair. Should Haley win in November she will be catapulted further into conservative recognition.

6. Glenn Beck, Radio and Television Host: Given Beck’s dramatic rise in popularity, why not?  While Beck denies any aspirations stating he is not willing to “lose his soul,” Beck is a Conservative god among many Americans. His show is the one of the most successful on Fox News and a petition has even surfaced encouraging Beck to run.

7. Rick Perry, Texas Governor: Perry has held office in Texas for 10 years and is a former member of the US Air Force. Perry has focused on financial reform through conservative values and is a strong proponent of tougher border security a popular issue among conservatives. Insiders insist that Perry’s travel plans, speaking engagements and media appearances show signs that he could be a potential candidate.

8. Haley Barbour: Mississippi Governor: Under term limits in Mississippi, Barbour cannot run again for Governor. Barbour has become a pivotal figure during two disasters on the Gulf Coast and exhibited great leadership. He was speculated by several media outlets reporting at the Southern Republican Leadership Conference as a potential candidate. Barbour was dubbed by Newsweek as “The Anti Obama,” exactly what our national could be looking for in 2012.   

9. Mike Pence, Indiana Congressman: Pence also currently serves as Chairman of the House Republican Conference. Before serving in Congress Pence was a radio talk show personality giving him the tenor needed for red meat speeches (speeches he has been delivering for over a year now at conservative events). There was speculation in 2008 that Pence would run, but he did not. Speculation has once again come up for 2012 and many believe Pence has what it takes.

10. Bobby Jindal, Louisiana Governor:  Jindal is young,  38, and a minority, furthermore conservatives like him. With the continuing BP oil spill crisis in the Gulf, Jindal has been in the national spotlight and received more media attention than ever. Of all the dark horses Jindal’s name has come up more than anyone else, but in April at the Southern Republican leadership conference he denied any desire to run. Jindal may choose to stay in his role as governor should the oil spill crisis continue to stay prevalent in the mainstream media. Leaving his state at this time to run for President could be perceived negatively.