With the new year now upon us, the 2016 president race is set to kick into high gear. A number of potential presidential candidates have done recent interviews that offered fresh thoughts on the impending contest. Here’s a rundown of the latest on what they -- or people close to them -- have said about interest, timing and potential competitors.
Vice President Joe Biden – At a Dec. 9 Politico forum, Biden “said a decision on 2016 would come around the end of spring, early summer — ‘we’ve not had that family discussion, either.’”
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders – On Dec. 26, Sanders told the Associated Press that he’ll decide by March on whether to launch a campaign and whether he’ll pursue the Democratic nomination or mount an independent bid.
Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley – On Dec. 26, The Washington Post reported: “Instead of putting pressure on Clinton with a January announcement of his candidacy, those close to him say, O’Malley and his supporters now think their best shot is to sit back and see how Clinton is received […] Aides say that O’Malley has not made a final decision about whether he’s running and will not publicly discuss the timing of a potential bid. But short of a major embarrassment, his backers say, it’s hard to see how the exposure that comes with a White House run could hurt his prospects for future opportunities, whether as a vice-presidential nominee, Cabinet member, television commentator — or presidential candidate in 2020 or 2024.”
Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren – Warren has repeatedly said she’s not running. On Dec. 15, she had a notable exchange on NPR that some backers said suggested she was leaving the door open for the future. In the fall of 2013, she was one of 16 women senators who sent a secret letter to Clinton urging her to run.
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush – On Dec. 16, Bush announced on Facebook and Twitter that he will “actively explore the possibility” of a run and will establish a leadership PAC to do that. He has since stepped down from corporate and nonprofit board positions.
Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney – In October, Romney spoke positively about Bush and told Bloomberg TV: “I’m not running. I’m not planning on running. And I got nothing new on that story.” On Dec. 8, a week before Bush made his announcement, The New York Times published a story about donor concerns about a Bush-Romney-Christie fight for money that’s still an important read.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie – On Dec. 22, Christie told NJTV that Bush’s decision won’t affect his. He also said: "Is it right for me? Is it right for my family? Is it right for the country ... If I answer 'yes' to all three of those things then I will run. If I don't answer 'yes' to all three then I won't.” His role as chairman of the Republican Governors Association put him on the road a lot in 2014. On Dec. 27, the New York Times reported he spent 42% of his time out-of-state in 2014. That piece also noted: “Mr. Christie has said he will discuss a presidential run with his family over the holidays and make his intentions known early in the new year.”
Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul – On Dec. 1, Paul declared he’ll seek another Senate term in 2016. With that news, USA Today reported: “Paul will decide sometime this spring whether he’ll also run for the White House, according to Doug Stafford, a senior adviser to the senator.” A lingering issue for Paul is a Kentucky law that prohibits running for two offices on the same ballot and his team is exploring options around that. In mid-December, Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes said she’ll be ready to take him to court.
Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan – When named Ways and Means Committee chair in November, Ryan said “I’ll deal with that later” regarding a 2016 bid. His new job as chair suggested to some he won’t run. Here’s how the Associated Press described it at the time: “House Republicans passed a rule last week that could complicate Ryan's plans if he decides to run for president. The rule says committee chairman must give up their gavels if they run for another office, such as Senate, president or governor. Ryan, however, could apply for a waiver.” Also noteworthy, he told HuffPost Live in September he wouldn’t run if Romney does.
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker – In mid-December, Walker said that Bush’s decision won’t affect his own. Just after the November midterm elections, with a headline of “Scott Walker plots 2016 rollout,” Politico reported: “Walker is crafting a budget that he intends to be a blueprint for conservative governance. He will unveil it in late January, and the final version would go into effect on July 1 — after a spring legislative session.” And he himself told Politico: “Any (presidential decision) that would come officially would have to come after that […] That could be midsummer. I want to fulfill those obviously important responsibilities.”
Florida Sen. Marco Rubio – In an interview published on New Year’s Eve for The New York Times magazine, Rubio said, “We’re definitely going to consider it […] If I don’t run, it won’t be because Jeb is running […].”
Texas Gov. Rick Perry – Perry has done a parade of interviews during his final month as governor. One of the most recent was with radio host Hugh Hewitt on Dec. 23, in which he said: “I’m not being coy about the preparation work that we’ve been doing for the last 24 months. And there’s huge preparation that a person has to do to be ready to run for the presidency of the United States. So we’re not ready to announce anything, yet, but if we do decide to run, we will be prepared, and I think that’s what people want to see.”
Texas Sen. Ted Cruz – National Review reported on Dec. 15: “’He’s looking at the race very seriously,’ says a senior adviser, who confirms that Cruz’s campaign headquarters would be based in Houston.” After Bush’s announcement, Cruz told Politico: “If we nominate another candidate in the mold of a Bob Dole or a John McCain or a Mitt Romney — and let me be clear, all three of those men, they’re good men, they’re honorable men, they’re decent men, they’re men of character, they’re war heroes — but what they did didn’t work.” Politico went on to report: "Asked whether Jeb Bush is in that 'mold,' Cruz replied, 'that’s going to be a decision for the primary voters to make.'"
Indiana Gov. Mike Pence – In May, Pence told The Washington Post he was “listening” to those who reached out about a bid, but in a Dec. 12 piece he told the Post “My focus is Indiana.” Also notable from that piece, there is a ballot rule issue facing him similar to what’s facing Rand Paul.
Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee – He spent much of 2014 openly contemplating a bid. After the midterm election, The Washington Post reported that Huckabee “is reconnecting with activists and enlisting staff to position himself” and that advisers “are already scouting real estate in Little Rock for a possible presidential campaign headquarters.
will be there again on Jan. 6. In the last week of January, he will headline “The Response” prayer event sponsored by the conservative American Family Association in Baton Rouge, which is expected to draw thousands of evangelicals. As the Times-Picayune noted, Perry headlined a similar event in Houston just days before jumping into the last race in 2011.
Dr. Ben Carson – On Dec. 21, The New York Times reported: “Signs point to Mr. Carson declaring his candidacy by a May 1 deadline he has set. A Houston lawyer, Terry Giles, interviewed operatives for a potential campaign this month at a Ritz-Carlton in New York and the Grand Hyatt in Washington. Mr. Carson spent the past week in Israel on a fact-finding trip to gain some foreign policy credibility.”
New York Rep. Peter King – As long ago as September 2013, he said he was running. He’s made several trips to New Hampshire. On Dec. 7, he told USA Today: "I'm looking at it and I'm taking advantage of the opportunity to get up (to New Hampshire) and get around […] This is not a Hillary-Clinton-type operation, or Jeb Bush, if he jumps in. If it did happen, it would be taking advantage of these (speaking) opportunities, getting (media) coverage up there, making it into a debate. And if there is a place to take the ball and run, I would be the guy to do it.''
Former New York Gov. George Pataki – He traveled to New Hampshire and South Carolina in the closing weeks of 2014. Pataki's new PAC already ran a TV ad.
Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker – Throughout 2014, Corker would not rule out interest in a run -- and still hasn’t. After Bush’s announcement, he told The Wall Street Journal that Bush “will be taken very seriously as a tier-one candidate immediately.”
Former United Nations Ambassador John Bolton – Politico reported in October that Bolton's travel and fundraising in 2014 suggested he could be an active candidate. In the wake of that piece, he told The Washington Post, “I can truly say that I am thinking about 2016 only in terms of keeping foreign and defense policy at the top of the priority list in the national political debate. Policy is uppermost in my mind.”
Former Maryland Gov. Bob Ehrlich – After a fall trip to New Hampshire, he told the Baltimore Sun at the start of December that he’s thinking about a bid.