“I think we all agree that it’s too early to speculate about these things — but that’s not going to stop any of us from doing it anyway,” Madden added. “People like Marco Rubio and Nikki Haley have regional and demographic appeal. They’re also beloved by conservatives. So before they’ve even been sworn into office, they’re going to be speculated about by the political class that’s engaged in this kind of Beltway chatter.”

Republican strategist Mike DuHaime, while offering the same it’s-too-early caveats, said anyone from Florida, Ohio or Pennsylvania “has got to be good to rise to statewide office.”

That makes Rubio, Kasich, Portman and Corbett automatic players, helped by well-regarded performances in their prior offices. Rubio was Speaker of the Florida state House; Kasich and Portman both were longtime House members, with Portman also serving as U.S. trade representative and director of the Office of Management and Budget; Corbett was his state’s attorney general.