It’s mid March and no one on the Republican side has officially announced. As such, there’s lots of speculation, so let’s continue with the who’s-running-and-who’s-not series.
Let’s begin with the quiet word on the street, which is that Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels and Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour have a gentleman’s agreement. Governor Daniels’ decision to run is contingent upon Governor Barbour’s. Mitch has promised Haley that he will only run for president in 2012 if and when Haley officially declares that he is not seeking the GOP nomination. At this point, it’s any man’s guess.
What we do know is that Haley Barbour is out there working hard, very hard, raising cash. This is not hard for Haley. He has a natural network as the current chairman of the National Governor’s Association and as co-founder of the mega Washington-based lobbying shop, BGR Group. It’s no small fact that Fortune crowned BGR as the second most powerful lobbying shop in America in 1998.
Raising money is not going to be a problem, oh no. However, given that Americans are so overtly fed up with Washington, it’s mind boggling that Governor Barbour and his team are even entertaining the idea that they can tip-toe around the enormous elephant in the room. But there you go.
We also know that Governor Barbour and his team are nervous and scared of something… I understand that there is an “oppo research” report coming on April 1 that will help Governor Barbour decide if he has any chance in the general if he gets in. It’s all a mystery to me at this point. That said, Haley is sounding like he is running. Just the other day he was (way) out there on the defense budget and Afghanistan. You can read his comments here at Politico.
As for Mitch Daniels, I’m just not convinced – even if Haley determines not to run – that he will want to air the family’s sordid laundry. Recall that Mrs. Daniels took the dental train to California in 1994 (abandoning their four young daughters to Mitch’s care) to marry a dentist. She later divorced the dentist to become Mrs. Daniels (again) by 1997. It was an odd marital hiatus that Americans are going to want to know about.
Again, the usual disclaimer. These posts are pure speculation on who I believe is running for president in 2012 and who is not. They’re based on what I’ve read and/or what genius has been imparted to me by trusted inside sources. I reserve the right to change my mind and correct my predictions, but I’m trying to get it right the first time. In the case of Daniels and Barbour, it’s one or the other. If I had to answer today, I’d say it’s Governor Barbour.
Sarah Lenti is the blogger behind NMPolitics.net’s The Savvy. E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org. For full disclosure, Lenti is a Republican strategist who works closely with potential GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s PAC.