5 Republicans Who Could Deliver State of the Union Response

The GOP is already narrowing the list.

Generally, party leaders don’t announce the speaker until a few days before the State of the Union, although the selection is made weeks in advance.

So who is it? Here’s a look at five contenders who might be under consideration to deliver the GOP response:

Following the deadly mass shooting in Charleston, South Carolina, last summer, Haley solidified herself as an emerging leader in conservative ranks, particularly due to her deft response to the controversy surrounding the Confederate flag in the Palmetto State. Haley has already worked her way into the early buzz for the 2016 vice presidential sweepstakes, and a prime time address could help propel her further onto the national scene. Haley would mark the third consecutive woman to deliver the GOP response after Sen. Joni Ernst did in 2015 and Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers took a turn in 2014.

3. Rep. Trey Gowdy

After President Obama won a second presidential term, GOP insiders speculated that the tall and handsome South Dakota senator might mount his own presidential campaign. Instead, Thune quickly took his name out of the running. Still, the two-term senator serves as the chairman of the Senate Republican Conference, making him a chief spokesman for GOPers in the upper chamber. Thune has consistently proved to be a popular and positive force in the party ever since he challenged and knocked off Sen. Tom Daschel, who was then serving as the Senate majority leader.

It’ll be up to Speaker Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to make the decision – and at least half of that duo has been highly critical of the current front-runner. After Trump’s controversial proposal to temporarily ban Muslims from entering the United States, Ryan said the billionaire businessman-turned-showman's comments were “un-American” – a rare scolding from a GOP leader who has strove to remain neutral in the presidential race. Trump has probably been eliminated from consideration simply because Ryan and McConnell don’t want to be perceived as promoting any of the presidential candidates just weeks before the Iowa caucus.