[mc_name name=’Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’R000595′ ] (#6) and Rick Perry (#5) were both in the top-6 in the first “power rankings” that will be updated weekly by Leon H. Wolf. I was a Perry supporter in 2012 and am a Rubio supporter this time around; I also like Walker. Both, however, despite being the best-looking candidates in the field, will have a very difficult path to the nomination.
Rubio and Perry both fall into the “middle third” of the party, where all of the nominees who have gone on to win the general election have come from, George W. Bush being the last one, HW and Reagan were also in that sweet spot, HW on the left edge of the “middle third” of the middle and Reagan on the right edge, but neither fell so far out in 80, 84, or 88. In ’92 HW’s movement to the “left third” of the party ensured his doom.
The problem that both Rubio and Perry will have: Governor Scott Walker, who right now is running away with the “middle-third,” and will have a leg up in neighboring Iowa. One candidate to the cultural right of Walker could gain traction coming out of Iowa, say non-conservative but “cultural conservative” Huckabee or Santorum, who have already done well there, or wild cards Cruz or Carson.
Indies, libertarians and liberals will not help either Rubio or Perry in NH, which leaves Florida and SC, where the winners of the Iowa and NH battles will have a leg up and where Rubio would be competing for voters who would be inclined to support Bush. In NH, Bush, Walker, Paul, and maybe Christie, particularly if there is no opposition to HRC, will be favored with their open-primary format in which conservatives are outnumbered.
I don’t think either should drop out because either would make good Presidents and it is too early to predict many factors, and both have a compelling candidacy: Rubio articulates conservatism with an oratorical gift that no other GOP candidate possesses, and his presence in the debates will be great for the party. Perry’s story in Texas should also be touted as how limited government and tort reform can spur economic growth.
I hope I am wrong, and I hope Rubio does well; apparently the Koch brothers are leaning towards him after he “won” their forum over Senators Paul and Cruz; but if I were a betting man I’d put my chips on Rubio as VP – he would have also helped Romney much more than Ryan did in 2012; Rick Perry I think would have done much better and could have won in 2012, but I think his moment has passed.