A Republican Savior: Most Prospects Have Already Said No

PHOTO: New Jersey Governor Chris Christie  speaks during a campaign rally outside a grocery store in Des Moines, Iowa Dec. 30, 2001.
Jewel Samao/AFP/Getty Images

As Mitt Romney's home state, the Michigan primary was not supposed to be the ferocious battle it turned into. But with GOP voters still unenthused about their primary options, Romney fought tooth-and-nail against Rick Santorum in what could prove to be the most pivotal primary of the election.

With Romney's support faltering and Santorum deemed completely unelectable by the GOP ruling class, is the stage set for a new candidate to ride into the race?

ABC's Jon Karl spoke to an anonymous Republican senator who said the party elders could sweep in to find a more electable candidate before the convention.

Jeb Bush said he's worried the primary is turning off the independents who will be necessary for a winning coalition.

Ignore for a moment the damage it would do for the party leaders to ignore the will of their voters and imagine, instead, when the GOP elders come down with a pronouncement. Whose name will be on it?

There's a good chance the Republican savior has already rejected a 2012 presidential run.

Former Florida Governor

VIDEO: Jeb Bush "Worried" Candidates Losing Independents
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Jeb Bush

"I'm not running any time that I'm aware of, 2012 for sure." - Bush to The New York Times in October 2010.

"You never say never about anything." -Bush to CNN in November 2010.


Age: 58
Birthplace: Midland, Texas
Family: Columba Bush (wife); Children: George, Noelle and John
Religion: Roman Catholic
Current job: Attorney
Previous campaign experience: Has never run for president
Most Recent Book Written: N/A
PAC: N/A

Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, the brother of former president George W. Bush, added fire to the rumors that he could make a last-minute entry into the GOP presidential race last week when said he was "worried" about the current GOP field.

"It's a little troubling sometimes when people are appealing to people's fears and emotion rather than trying to get them to look over the horizon for a broader perspective, and that's kind of where we are," Bush said during a speech in Dallas on Thursday, according to Fox News.

After the speech Bush told CBS he is "worried" that the current field of candidates is turning off independent voters, who, he said, were necessary to win in the general election.

Conservative commentator Ann Coulter said she took Bush's comments as a sign that he was "hoping to be chosen as the nominee after a contested convention."

Governor of New Jersey

PHOTO: New Jersey Governor Chris Christie  speaks during a campaign rally outside a grocery store in Des Moines, Iowa Dec. 30, 2001.
Jewel Samao/AFP/Getty Images
Chris Christie

"What do I have to do short of suicide to convince people I'm not running?" - Christie at the American Enterprise Institute February 2011.

Age: 48
Birthplace: Newark, New Jersey
Family: Mary Pat (wife); Children: Patrick, Bridget, Sarah, Andrew
Religion: Roman Catholic
Current job: Governor
Previous campaign experience: Has never run for president
Most Recent Book Written: N/A
PAC: N/A

Speculation that New Jersey Governor Chris Christie would jump into the presidential race reached a fever pitch in November and, is mounting again as the primaries drag on.

And in his blunt style, Christie said Republicans are still asking him to enter the 2012 race, Politico first reported.

"What I say back to them is I'm supporting Mitt Romney and I'm going to do everything I can to make sure he wins the nomination and is going to become president come January 2013," he told ABC's George Stephanopoulos last week. "I don't know how many times I have to say it. The answer is no."

On Sunday, Christie upped the ante for Romney in Michigan, saying that if Romney did not clearly win his home state it was possible that he would not secure the nomination before the Republican convention.

"Sure, that's a possibility," Christie said on CBS's Face the Nation. "I don't think it's a likelihood, though."

Even if there was the possibility for a new candidate to win the nomination at the convention, Christie said again it would not be he.

Former Governor of Alaska

PHOTO: Sarah Palin
J. Scott Applewhite/AP Photo
Sarah Palin

"I believe that at this time I can be more effective in a decisive role to help elect other true public servants to office — from the nation's governors to Congressional seats and the Presidency." - Palin in a letter to supporters on Oct. 5, 2011.

Age: 47
Birthplace: Sandpoint, Idaho
Family: Todd Palin (husband); Children: Track, Bristol, Willow, Piper, and Trig
Religion: Non-denominational Christian
Current job: Reality TV show host; Fox News contributor
Previous campaign experience: Vice presidential candidate, 2008
Most Recent Book Written: "America By Heart" (2010)
PAC: SarahPac
Total PAC Receipts (from Aug. 2011 report): $1,665,033
PAC Cash on Hand (from Dec. report): $1,402,368

Sarah Palin is the queen of not running for president while still looking like she's going to run for president. The 2008 vice presidential candidate is snagging the spotlight over an HBO movie that profiles her White House bid, a film she has denounced as inaccurate. And she has yet to endorse one of the current candidates.

Earlier this month she stoked speculation that she'll toss her name in the ring, saying if there is a brokered GOP convention "all bets are off" and she would "do whatever I could to help."

"I think that months from now, if that is the case, then you know, all bets are off as to who it will be, willing to offer up themselves up in their name in service to their country," Palin said on Fox News. "I cannot predict what will happen in the future, but I know that I have got the fire in my belly to try to help, to try to make a difference and if that involves running for public office at some point in the future, I'm game for that."

Governor of Indiana

PHOTO: Mitch Williams
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
Mitch Daniels

"I was able to resolve every competing consideration but one, but that, the interests and wishes of my family, is the most important consideration of all," Daniels said in an email to supporters on May 22, 2011.


Age: 62
Birthplace: Monongahela, Pennsylvania
Family: Cheri Lynn Herman Daniels (wife); Children: Meagan, Melissa, Meredith, and Maggie
Religion: Presbyterian
Current job: Governor
Previous campaign experience: Has never run for president.
Most Recent Book Written: N/A
PAC: N/A

Chris Christie isn't the only GOP big hitter who is still being courted for a presidential run. Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels said this weekend that party leaders are urging him to become the Republicans' white knight.

"I wasn't running, I'm not running, and I don't plan to run," Daniels told reporters at the National Governors Association meeting Saturday, according to the Washington Post.

"I really believe there's a great chance for our nominee — presumably one of the current candidates — to win this election," Daniels added.

Former Governor of Arkansas

PHOTO: Former Arkansas governor and FOX new personality Mike Huckabee speaks during the 2011 Republican Leadership Conference, June 16, 2011 in New Orleans, La.
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
Mike Huckabee

"All the factors say go, but my heart says no." - Huckabee on Fox News, May 15, 2011.

Age: 55
Birthplace: Hope, Arkansas
Family: Janet Huckabee (wife); Children: John, Mark, David, and Sarah
Religion: Southern Baptist
Current job: Host of "Huckabee" on Fox News Channel
Previous campaign experience: Presidential candidate, 2008. Former Governor of Arkansas
Most Recent Book Written: "A Simple Christmas" (2009)
PAC: HuckPac
Total 2011 Receipts (from December report): $459,000
Cash on Hand (from December report): $96,000

After his failed 2008 bid for the White House, Mike Huckabee firmly rejected another foray into presidential politics in 2012. But with Republicans seemingly desperate for a strong conservative, Huckabee is keeping the door open for 2016 and stirring rumors that he'll change his mind in 2012.

"A lot of it is that I think that there's just such a toxic atmosphere now, specifically in the Republican Party," Huckabee said in an interview with an Israeli TV station on Sunday. "And I would love to be able to say that it's going to be all about ideas and solutions, but unfortunately, a lot of it is just being able to say I'm more angry at the Obama administration than somebody else."

Real Estate Mogul

Donald Trump

"Business is my greatest passion and I am not ready to leave the private sector." - Trump in a statement May 16, 2011.


Age: 65
Birthplace: Queens, New York
Family: Meliana (wife; twice divorced); Children: Donald, Ivanka, Eric, Tiffany, Barron
Religion: Presbyterian
Current job: Chairman and CEO of the Trump Organization
Previous campaign experience: Has never run for president
Most Recent Book Written: "Think Like a Champion: An Informal Education In Business and Life" (2009)
PAC: N/A

To say Donald Trump flirted with a presidential bid would be the understatement of the century. First, he suggested he would run as a Republican, then after the GOP primaries began he repeatedly said he was considering an independent bid.

After months of speculation, Trump finally threw his support behind Mitt Romney, officially endorsing him earlier this month. Trump said if Romney got the nomination he would not run as an independent.

Former Governor of Mississippi

PHOTO: Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour speaks during the 2011 Republican Leadership Conference in this June 17, 2011 file photo in New Orleans, Louisiana.
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
Haley Barbour

"I will not be a candidate for president next year. This has been a difficult, personal decision." - Barbour in an April 2011 statement.


Age: 63
Birthplace: Yazoo City, Mississippi
Family: Marsha Barbour (wife); Children: Sterling and Reeves
Religion: Presbyterian
Current job: Governor
Previous campaign experience: Has never run for president
Most Recent Book Written: "The Agenda for America" (1996)
PAC: Haley's PAC
Total 2010 Receipts (from Dec. report): $917,437.50
Cash on Hand (from Dec. report):$391,609.70

Former Mississippi Governor Barbour said he not only thinks the GOP race will be contested all the way to the convention, but that a new Republican candidate could make a last-minute entry into the still-open race.

"If the Republican primary voters continue to split up their votes in such a way that nobody is close to having a majority, then there is a chance that somebody else might get in," Barbour, the former Republican Party chairman, said in an interview with ABC News.

"At the end of the day I think most Republicans want somebody who can beat Barack Obama," Barbour told ABC's Jon Karl. "And nobody in my opinion has made that case to the Republican voters yet — Romney, Santorum, Paul or Gingrich."

Senator from South Dakota

PHOTO: John Thune
Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call/Getty Images
John Thune

"So at this time, I feel that I am best positioned to fight for America's future here in the trenches of the United States Senate." - Thune in written statement in February 2011.


Age: 50
Birthplace: Murdo, South Dakota
Family: Kimberly Thune (wife); Children: Brittany and Larissa
Religion: Evangelical Christian
Current job: U.S. Senator
Previous campaign experience: Has never run for president
Most Recent Book Written: N/A
PAC:Heartland Values PAC
Total 2010 Receipts (from Dec. report): $610,195.20
Cash on Hand (from Dec. report): $182,230

South Dakota Sen. John Thune has traversed early primary states in support of Mitt Romney since endorsing him in November. But last year many were speculating he would be on the trail for himself.

Thune said last February that the battle for a better future was happening in Washington and in Congress, and that's where he planned to stay.

While he's ruled out a bid at the top of the ticket, Thune will likely be on the short list of Vice Presidential candidates.

Senator from South Carolina

PHOTO: Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC) is interviewed on "This Week."
ABC News
Jim DeMint

"No, no I'm not." - DeMint to CNN, when asked in January 2011 whether he would be interested in seeking the GOP nomination.

Age: 59
Birthplace: Greenville, South Carolina
Family: Debbie (wife); four married children
Religion: Presbyterian
Current job: U.S. Senator
Previous campaign experience: Has never run for president
Most Recent Book Written: "Saving Freedom: We Can Stop America's Slide into Socialism" (2009)
PAC: Senate Conservatives Fund

Tea Party leader and South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint said it's possible that the GOP will have a brokered convention, and left the door open to another candidate jumping in.

The only person "who could make it happen" that late in the game is Mitch Daniels, DeMint said, according to the Augusta Chronicle.

DeMint has not endorsed a GOP candidate because he says "80 percent" of his supporters will be angry, whoever he picks.

Governor of Louisiana

PHOTO: Bobby Jindal
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
Bobby Jindal

"I'm not being coy at all. I'm not running for president in 2012. Period. No ifs, ands or buts, no caveats." - Jindal, according to The Associated Press in November 2010.

Age: 40
Birthplace: Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Family: Supriya Jindal (wife); Children: Selia Elizabeth, Shaan Robert, and Slade Ryan
Religion: Roman Catholic
Current job: Governor
Previous campaign experience: Has never run for president
Most Recent Book Written: "Leadership and Crisis" (2010)
PAC: N/A

If you ask Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, Republicans need to take a deep breath and rest assured that this "messy" primary will make the eventual nominee better prepared to take on Barack Obama in the general election.

"Primaries are always a very messy process," Jindal said after the National Governors Association meeting on Monday. "Democracy is messy. At the end of the day, we'll have a candidate we'll all get behind."

Jindal originally endorsed Rick Perry, who dropped out of the GOP race in January. After that, he said he would not endorse another GOP candidate.

MORE COVERAGE

Former Governor of New York

PHOTO: Former N.Y. Gov. George Pataki
Jemal Countess/WireImage
George Pataki

"I'm not running for president." - Pataki to Fox News host Sean Hannity, April 2011.

Age: 66
Birthplace: Peekskill, New York
Family: Elizabeth Pataki (wife); Children: Emily, Teddy, Allison, and Owen
Religion: Roman Catholic
Current job: Attorney
Previous campaign experience: Has never run for president
Most Recent Book Written: N/A
PAC: Revere America
Total 2010 Receipts (from Dec. report): $0
Cash on Hand (from Dec. report): $0

Back in August, when rumors of a run by Rick Perry or Chris Christie filled the political airwaves, the name of former New York Gov. George Pataki came into the mix as well.

Pataki shot down a possible bid in August, but vowed to "remain active" in the discussion about lowering U.S. debt. He said he would support the candidate who "offers the vision, the ideas and the leadership to bring an end to America's debt crisis."

Pataki has remained relatively quiet about his views on the current GOP field, but has been vocal against Obama's economic policies.

Former Governor of Minnesota

PHOTO: Republican presidential candidate and former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty speaks at the Iowa Straw Poll at Iowa State University.
Scott Olson/Getty Images
Tim Pawlenty

"I'm going to be ending my campaign for president, but I'm very, very grateful for the people of Iowa, the people of this country, who I had a chance to make my case to, and for my supporters and staff and friends who've been so loyal and helpful. I really appreciate all of them." - Pawlenty on ABC's "This Week," Aug. 14, 2011.


Age: 50
Birthplace: St. Paul, Minnesota
Family: Mary Anderson (wife); Children: Anna and Mara
Religion: Baptist/Evangelical
Current job: Seeking job in private sector
Previous campaign experience: Has never run for president
Most Recent Book Written: Courage to Stand: An American Story
PAC: Freedom First

Former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty has campaigned hard for Mitt Romney, whom he endorsed immediately after ending his own presidential bid in August.

With the Republican race still so volitile, there were suggestions Pawlenty would be tempted to restart his campaign. But he shot down that possibility on Friday, telling Fox News that he'd had his chance.

"We couldn't get it over the finish line," Pawlenty said. "I regret some of the tactical decisions that we made in my campaign. But the fact is, we had our chance and didn't get it done. I'm really excited to support Mitt."

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