You might ask, “Who?” That’s a perfectly understandable response for anyone who didn’t live in the mid-Atlantic region in the last decade. Ehrlich is the former Republican governor of Maryland who managed to get elected in the pro-Republican 2002 election cycle, and who served a single term before he was ousted by Martin O’Malley. In fact, you might be more familiar with Ehrlich’s lieutenant governor, Michael Steele, who went on to serve as the chairman of the Republican National Committee.
Well, you might not be surprised to learn that Ehrlich plans to run for president in 2016. Not because of his name recognition, record as governor, or pedigree, of course, but because every Republican who ever held elected office is apparently running for president in 2016.
Ehrlich plans to make his fourth visit to New Hampshire on Feb. 24, after meeting last week with more than 100 top donors in New York to discuss financing a potential campaign. At those meetings, he discussed setting up a leadership PAC, as a bunch of other probable candidates have done in recent weeks.
“Obviously this summer we have to figure out what the situation is. Are people responding to my message? Are they lining up to hear more of what I say after I speak? Clearly there’s been a little bit of a spark in my public speeches,” said Ehrlich. “Can that spark cause more sparks? Are there more groups that want to hear me?”
If Ehrlich does decide to run, he’d be considered a huge longshot in what’s shaping up to be a very deep field of candidates for the GOP nomination. Asked how he could compete against possible rivals with major name recognition such as Mitt Romney, Jeb Bush, and Chris Christie, Ehrlich said “that’s not where we are right now. That’s not where my mind is right now. That doesn’t reflect my present status.”
For our primary poll, HotAir tested 14 Republicans who have indicated that they may run for president in the coming cycle. That does not include relative longshots like former New York Gov. George Pataki, who is serious about a bid despite being largely ignored by the national political press.
So, why is it that every Republican and their dog seems so interested in mounting a costly and time-consuming run for the White House this cycle? Well, because the field is as wide-open as it has ever been.
A new USA TODAY/Suffolk University Poll finds Republican and Republican-leaning voters scattered among 18 prospective nominees when asked an open-ended question about whom they want the GOP to nominate for president next year. “Undecided” finishes first, at 45%, trailed by 2012 nominee Mitt Romney at 16% and former Florida governor Jeb Bush at 13%.
No one else gets close to double digits, though potential contenders including Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and others make the list of those mentioned.
For some, running an ill-fated presidential campaign is a way to generate publicity, increase visibility among donors ahead of a run for a much more attainable office at a later date, or simply translate a higher public profile into a media career. The former Maryland governor doesn’t have a hope in Hades of becoming America’s 45th President of the United States, so he is more likely running a vanity campaign. But who knows? A series of twists of fate, and we might get a rematch of the 2006 Maryland gubernatorial election on the national level… Maybe… Could happen.