“The Sunday Political Brunch” Jan. 11, 2015 – by ABC6 Chief Political Reporter Mark Curtis

 Twitter: @markcurtisABC6 

“The Sunday Political Brunch” – January 11, 2015

(Providence, Rhode Island) – We are one year away from the all-important Iowa Caucuses and New Hampshire Primary and all of a sudden potential candidates are coming out of the woodwork, and not just in the Republican Party. Let’s “brunch” on that this week:

“Oh My, O’Malley!” – I have been saying in this column for over a year, that I don’t think Hillary Clinton has a lock on the Democratic nomination in 2016. Yes, she is the frontrunner, but it’s not a sure bet. After all, she was the clear frontrunner at the start of the 2008 campaign, but didn’t win. As I’ve been anticipating, she’s likely to have challengers. “I’m very seriously considering running in 2016,” Gov. Martin O’Malley (D-MD) said last week, adding that he will decide by spring. I bet Vice President Joe Biden gets in, too.

“Cowboy Christie” – I firmly believe Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ) will enter the Presidential campaign and he will be competitive.  But to a large extent, politics are about image and perception. To that end Christie did himself no favors last Sunday hugging and high-fiving Dallas Cowboy’s owner Jerry Jones in his skybox (photo above). The images were broadcast at the game’s end, and Christie was widely criticized in social media and elsewhere. Christie represents a state filled with New York Giants and Philadelphia Eagles fans; teams which are the Cowboy’s division foes and arch-enemies. Will Christie’s “Cowboy Hug” be the “Howard Dean Scream” of the 2016 campaign? Could be!

“Huckabee Out; Huckabee In?” – Former Gov. Mike Huckabee (R-AR) was released from his job as a Fox News commentator, after signaling that might make another White House run in 2016. Huckabee may have wide appeal to the more conservative elements of the party, and is certainly not in the more moderate middle that includes Jeb Bush, Chris Christie and Mitt Romney. One of Huckabee’s big advantages is that he could again win the Iowa Caucuses, and that could bring him money and momentum out of the first contest, especially if the race has no clear-cut frontrunner next January.

“Romney Redux” – Former Gov. Mitt Romney (R-MA) indicated this past week, that he is seriously looking into a third White House bid, after earlier saying he was done with politics. Romney’s vast wealth means he can self-finance much of his run. Recent “theoretical” polls now say he would beat President Obama if the election were held today, but those polls may just be a measure of “buyer’s remorse” and not any indication of a public love affair with Romney.

“Good Gov?” – Have you noticed a common theme among almost everyone I have discussed here? Governors O’Malley, Christie, Bush, Huckabee and Romney have all been state chief executives. Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI), Gov. John Kasich (R-OH) and former Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX), are also being mentioned. Some of this may be due to President Obama’s low approval ratings, and a desire to replace him with someone with solid executive experience. Remember from 1976 through 2008, the White House was occupied by a former Governor for all but four years.

“The Outliers” – Other potential candidates on the Republican side include Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX). Both come from states firmly in the GOP camp, so what else do they bring? Then there is Dr. Ben Carson, a popular African-American conservative, who has never held political office. That’s tough row to hoe. On the Democratic side, there is former Sen. Evan Bayh (D-IN), who also once served as his state’s Governor, and maybe Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-NY). Lots of others are mentioned on both sides of the aisle, but all are pretty much long shots.

“Just a Reminder” – All of this is framed on the date of January 11, 2015. A lot can change. Around Christmas of 2007, Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Rudy Giuliani were so far ahead in their respective party’s polling data, that it looked impossible for anyone else to win the nominations. Barack Obama and John McCain are prime examples of how the inevitable can be toppled.

© 2015, Mark Curtis Media, LLC.

Photo courtesy: ABC7Chicago.com