Scott and Bush Slam Door on 2012 Runs

As Mitch Daniels and Floridians say no, Republicans still hungrily shopping around
By: Kevin Derby and Gray Rohrer | Posted: May 24, 2011 3:55 AM

With Gov. Mitch Daniels of Indiana announcing during the weekend that he will not seek the Republican presidential nomination, eyes turned to two Republicans in Florida as possible candidates. But both Gov. Rick Scott and former Gov. Jeb Bush shot down trial balloons Monday, once again saying they are not running for president.

During a press conference on Florida's emergency operation preparations ahead of hurricane season, Scott was asked if he will run for president in 2012 now that Daniels has opted to stay out of the race. Scott swiftly shut down the notion.

"I'm not running for president, I don't intend to run for president,” said Scott. “There are a lot of great candidates, and it looks like there'll probably even be more.”

Scott added that he is focused on his main job of getting the state back to work.

A much more plausible run from Bush is not forthcoming either, after the Miami former governor reiterated his oft-voiced intention to stay out of the race following Daniels' announcement.

“While I am flattered by everyone's encouragement, my decision has not changed,” said Bush, son of one former president and brother of another. “I will not be a candidate for president in 2012.”

Had they entered, Scott and Bush would have been taking on at least one historical trend. While Florida ranks as one of the most important states on the political map, no president has ever come from the Sunshine State, and leading candidates from the state -- including Claude Kirk, Reubin Askew and Bob Graham -- never came close to winning their party’s nominations.

A crowd of candidates have already entered the race or are seriously considering running for the Republican presidential nomination, including former Gov. Mitt Romney of Massachusetts, former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich of Georgia, former Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska, former Gov. Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota, U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota, former Gov. Jon Huntsman of Utah, U.S. Rep. Ron Paul of Texas, former Mayor Rudy Giuliani of New York City, former Gov. George Pataki of New York, former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton, former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, former Gov. Gary Johnson of New Mexico, former Gov. Buddy Roemer of Louisiana, businessman Herman Cain, former state Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore of Alabama, and activist Fred Karger.

But some Republicans at the national level are harboring doubts if any of the current candidates can defeat President Barack Obama in 2012. Besides Daniels, Bush and Scott, other candidates who are staying on the sidelines include former Gov. Mike Huckabee of Arkansas, Gov. Haley Barbour of Mississippi, U.S. Sen. John Thune of South Dakota, businessman Donald Trump, Gov. Rick Perry of Texas and Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey.

There has been some buzz that U.S. Rep. Thad McCotter of Michigan could make a run at the Republcian nomination. With McCotter announcing last week that he has no intention of challenging Democratic U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow in 2012, the door is at least slightly open for him to run for the Republican presidential nomination. But no U.S. representative has won the presidency since James Garfield back in 1880.

Some Republicans are continuing to encourage Christie to enter the race, though he continues to insist that he will not be involved. The Obama team is apparently keeping their eye on Christie. On Monday, the New York Post reported that the White House is doing research on the New Jersey governor in case he enters the race.

On Sunday U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., left the door slightly open during an appearance on NBC’s Meet the Press. While Ryan, best known for serving as the point man on the Republicans’ proposed federal budget this year, said he does not expect to enter the race and it is not in his plans, he added: “You never know what opportunities present themselves way down the road.”

Even Trump, who had publicly flirted with making a presidential bid before closing the door earlier in the month, said during a call to a Fox News show on Monday that he is unimpressed with the Republican field and could change his mind later in the year to run for the nomination.

Reach Kevin Derby at kderby@sunshinestatenews.com. Reach Gray Rohrer at grohrer@sunshinestatenews.com. They both can be reached at (850) 727-0859.




Comments (1)

Robert Freeman
9:43AM MAY 24TH 2011
I still believe Jeb would take a Vice-Presidential position if he was encouraged by the Republican Presidential nominee. A "MITT and JEB" ticket would be an outstanding combination.

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