Several governors — including Wisconsin’s Scott Walker, Ohio’s John Kasich, Michigan’s Rick Snyder and Pennsylvania’s Tom Corbett — are in their first year in office and are more concerned with their own duties than a presidential campaign. Florida’s Rick Scott, also elected in 2010, has had such a difficult six months that Democrats now see him as a potential liability for the Republican presidential nominee in the battle for that state’s electoral votes next year.
Two prominent Republican governors — Indiana’s Mitch Daniels and Mississippi’s Haley Barbour — considered running for the nomination but ultimately decided not to. New Jersey’s Chris Christie, whose blunt style has made him a hero among some Republicans, has rebuffed repeated efforts to draw him into the fray. None of the three has endorsed any of those running, nor do they appear eager to do so.
Texas Gov. Rick Perry, after long denying any interest in the presidency, is suddenly thinking about running but has not made a decision. Perry is the current chairman of the Republican Governors Association, but it is not clear how much he could translate that post into the support of fellow governors if he does decide to run.
Not that the Republican race suffers from a lack of gubernatorial voices. Former governors seeking the nomination include Mitt Romney of Massachusetts, Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota, Jon Huntsman Jr. of Utah, Gary Johnson of New Mexico and Buddy Roemer of Louisiana.
Romney is a former RGA chairman, and Pawlenty served as vice chair during the 2010 election cycle. Neither has been able to corral significant support from other governors. Romney has been endorsed by two governors, Dave Heineman of Nebraska and Butch Otter of Idaho, as well as one former governor, Colorado’s Bill Owens. Pawlenty has the support of former Georgia governor Sonny Perdue, who first supported former House speaker Newt Gingrich. Perdue has close ties to Pawlenty’s campaign manager Nick Ayers.
One former governor, Mike Huckabee of Arkansas, who won the Iowa caucuses in 2008, decided not to run this time. Another former governor, and 2008 vice presidential nominee, Sarah Palin of Alaska, continues to be coy about her intentions, though time is running out for her.
There are signs that the governors may begin to weigh in, if only because of concerns about the support being generated by Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota, the favorite of tea party activists whose candidacy has shaken up the GOP race.