Our 2016 attentions on the Republican side have already been fine-tuned to focus on governors in the past few months. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's various scandals have portentous meaning for the presidential election, so we've been told. The investigations into Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's office have people wondering whether he truly is the post-Christie presidential front-runner. The predictions persisted at a murmur, at least until last weekend.
Governors from all across the country descended on D.C. from Feb. 21 to 24 for the winter National Governors Association meeting, and national political reporters, blessed with a new pride of potential presidential candidates to pester, had no choice but to ask the governors their opinions on the race, or whether they had any intention to run. Local reporters, on the other hand, latched onto the chance to bring a bit of 2016 buzz to their states.
The result of a heightened stretch of gubernatorial access at the national level, of course, is a dizzily expansive array of stories about governors and 2016. Does this week's gossip mean that a governor is certain to win the Republican nomination -- or that a Democratic governor will be the one waiting in the wings if Hillary Clinton doesn't run? Or will the focus on governors quickly disappear when next week's 2016 buzz centers around the Senate-sized shiny objects -- Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, Rand Paul -- who will speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference?
Until candidates begin announcing, event-based speculation is the best the Internet has, so a quick look at top politicians' calendars might be a better way to judge who will be the presidential flavor of the week, as the glut of 2016 coverage from the past few days listed below shows. (Please, D.C., let's not debate whether every single politician in the country is running for president. And Brian Sandoval, enjoy your short-lived career as a potential candidate in 2016.)
Here then, are governors who have been mentioned in the press recently as possible presidential candidates:
The governor candidates
NBC News: "Several governors are seen as potential presidential candidates in 2016. Obama made light of the speculation about the race to replace him, saying he 'enjoyed watching some of you with your eyes on higher office size up the drapes, and each other.' "
Time: "Jindal then returned to the microphones to continue his barrage against the Obama administration, saying as Malloy walked off, 'I want to make sure he hears a more partisan statement,' and saying Obama should delay the Affordable Care Act mandates. It wasn’t the first time Jindal had used the microphones outside the White House to attack the president, having done the same at last year’s meeting. While a break from protocol, it is a signal to the GOP base that Jindal, a 2016 hopeful, is willing to take a forceful stand against the president."
The Daily Caller: "Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal — who appears open to running for president as a Republican in 2016 — repeatedly ripped President Barack Obama on Monday after governors of both parties met with the president at the White House."
Politico: “'The Obama economy is now the minimum wage economy. I think we can do better than that, I think America can do better than that,' said the potential 2016 presidential candidate, suggesting that the president approve the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, rein in regulations and expand drilling on federal lands to boost economic growth."
L.A. Times: "A handful of Democratic governors -- Martin O'Malley of Maryland, Jay Nixon of Missouri and Deval Patrick of Massachusetts -- are keeping their options open for 2016, with at least the latter two likely to run only if Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton does not."
McClatchy: "O'Malley, who is considering running for president in 2016, blamed Republicans for the government's partial October shutdown. 'Shutting our country down does not help job growth, he said."
Bloomberg Businessweek: "Maryland also has had legalization bills introduced. Governor Martin O’Malley, a Democrat and potential presidential candidate in 2016, said he was opposed, saying it could keep residents from receiving federal jobs, a pillar of the state’s economy."
Bloomberg Businessweek: "Scott Walker’s status as a potential 2016 Republican presidential candidate was growing as New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s was sinking amid the furor raised by politically motivated lane closings and traffic jams. Now Walker, the governor of Wisconsin, is bedeviled by home-grown trouble that could complicate a 2016 White House bid, as well as his own November re-election race."
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The State Column: "Wisconsin’s Republican Gov. Scott Walker reportedly is considering running for president in the 2016 election, especially since New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s image has been badly tarnished by recent scandal. But Walker faces some problems of his own."
New Jersey Republican
Salon: "New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie used to be everyone’s favorite Republican and the conventional wisdom’s pick to win the GOP’s presidential nomination in 2016. Now, Christie’s poll numbers are falling and his White House prospects, once seemingly just within his reach, are fading further with each passing day. It’s amazing what a few weeks’ time can do."
The Christian Science Monitor: "As the governor of a key swing state, Governor Kasich is a natural for a shortlist for 2016, especially if he survives his reelection bid this fall. "
Politico Magazine: "A few 2016 watchers are touting three-term California Gov. Jerry Brown, but he would be 78 years old in the election year and has so far demurred. The idea seems far-fetched, though Brown has run for president three times before, in 1976, 1980 and 1992, and he is still one of the most unpredictable figures on the political scene. Maybe he will be the ultimate test of the adage that only death is a cure for presidential fever."
The Hill: "Republican Gov. Terry Branstad (Iowa) on Monday declined to name potential 2016 presidential candidates who might succeed in his state, but did say he prefers governors."
New Mexico Republican
McClatchy: "A rising star, she was mentioned as a possible vice presidential nominee in 2012. The one-time Democrat and veteran prosecutor is considered a good bet to be re-elected to a second term this year, in a state that Obama carried in 2012 by nearly 10 percentage points."
The Tennessean: A year off of floating Gov. Bill Haslam’s name as a potential candidate for national office in 2016, Politico has the Tennessee Republican on a shortlist of potential aspirants for the presidency in two years.
The Knoxville News Sentinel: "Gov. Bill Haslam dismissed speculation Friday he might run for president in 2016, saying it’s not something he is interested in pursuing. 'I’m seriously not considering that or planning that one bit,' he said."
Politico: "Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon of Missouri on Friday didn’t rule running for president in 2016 if Hillary Clinton does not, stressing the importance of a “voice” for the “heartland” of the country."
The Portsmouth Herald: "For those inclined to keep an open mind, or would feel unrepresented if Clinton ran unchallenged, there are numerous Democrats who would be excellent candidates. Gov. Jerry Brown in California, Montana Gov. Steve Bullock or Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley would have broad appeal beyond the Democratic primary, all have proven records and have been tested in both the private and public sector."
Detroit Free Press: "Snyder seen as 2016 White House hopeful"
The Boston Globe: "Governor Deval Patrick cracked the door on Sunday to a potential White House run after the 2016 election, using a governors’ conference in Washington DC to stir national buzz."
South Carolina Republican
The Post and Courier: "Horry County Republican Chairman Robert Raybon took a similar view, listing Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, Ohio Gov. John Kasich and South Carolina's Nikki Haley as his top three picks for president in 2016."
CNN: Republican Gov. Mike Pence of Indiana, considered a dark horse for the 2016 presidential race, didn’t directly answer the question. “I haven't spent one second thinking about any job other than the one I was hired to do,” he told CNN’s chief political correspondent, Candy Crowley.
Politico: "Hickenlooper had been mentioned as a potential 2016 presidential contender, but his approval rating has slipped over the past year and Republicans now express hope he can be defeated in November."
Des Moines Register: "Perry, a Republican, is serving in his final year as the governor of Texas. The visit to Iowa inevitably stokes speculation that he may consider another run at the presidency in 2016. His 2012 campaign flamed out after his poor showing in Iowa’s first-in-the-nation caucuses."
New York Daily News: "Texas Gov. Rick Perry said Sunday he hasn’t ruled out another White House bid in 2016. When asked Sunday morning on CNN’s 'State of the Union' by host Candy Crowley whether he had shut the door on a second presidential run, Perry said, 'no.'"
New York Democrat
Newsmax: "New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo's tweet to mark Presidents Day has sparked speculation that the Democrat is toying with a run for the White House in 2016."
McClatchy: "A dark horse, he has a resume Republican insiders love. A former state attorney general, gaming commission chairman and federal judge -- supported for the job by Democratic Sen. Harry Reid -- Sandoval in 2010 became the first Hispanic elected to statewide office in one of the nation’s key battleground states."
The Wall Street Journal: "Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy gave an unambiguous 'no' in an appearance on the same show. 'I am not going to be a candidate for president,' he said. CNN host Candy Crowley was impressed. 'Now you see?' she said. 'How hard was that?'"
"How I made John Dingell cry" -- Karen Tumulty, The Washington Post
"Holder Says State Attorneys General Don’t Have to Defend Gay Marriage Bans" -- Matt Apuzzo, The New York Times
"Hagel's Military Budget Focuses on Changing Threats" -- Dion Nissenbaum and Julian E. Barnes