Dowd: GOP Vacuum May Bring Surprise Candidates

Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels’ late-night statement announcing that he will not run for the 2012 Republican nomination for president may lead to “surprising candidates” entering the race, according to political strategist Matthew Dowd.

“There’s been some surprises of people not getting in,” Dowd said on This Week Sunday. “I think what you’re going to see in the next four or five months are some surprising candidates who are going to get in who are not mentioned right now.”

He cited Texas Gov. Rick Perry as a possible wild card, along with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who has repeatedly denied interest in running in 2012 despite entreaties by fellow Republicans.

“I actually think that Governor Perry in Texas is probably going to reconsider,” Dowd said. “It seems to be a good moment for a guy that’s very popular among Tea Party, he’s very states right-y, very anti-federal government, [who] can raise a ton of money.”

“I think Governor Christie of New Jersey is going to be pushed to reconsider this,” Dowd added. “I think there’s going to be some surprising entries into this race.”

While there may be surprise candidates, ABC’s George Will believes a smaller field may lead to an earlier consensus on a presumptive nominee, despite the later primary schedule this cycle.

“You might have an early coalescence, because you’re now down to so few people, get down to two people in February and settle it in March,” Will said.

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