I think two seconds after the election results were coming in, people decided that it was time to speculate about who would run for President of the United States in 2016. Scott Walker's win in November proved that he could carry a blue state; Rick Scott showed that he could win Florida; something about Lindsey Graham, etc. .
The traditional Republican narrative in the modern era for being nominated is that you have to fail the first time you run for the Republican nominee and then you run again later. If 2016 follows the same narrative, you can eliminate any candidate who is running for the 1st time. That would leave us with a fairly small group of candidates including Rick Santorum, Rick Perry, Newt Gingrich, Herman Cain (oh please, there are few things I would like to see more than Cain run again), Mike Huckabee, and Tim Pawlenty. There are a few more but I wanted to keep it fairly small. Out of that group, the most likely would be Rick Perry. Perry fits the narrative pretty well. He initially looked like a strong challenger to Mitt Romney in 2012 but had his spectacular flameout where he couldn't remember which federal agency he would like to eliminate. An election that includes Perry defeating his debate demonds and being the comeback kid is great for media narratives. On top of that, he's pretty much been running for President in 2016 since he dropped out in 2012.
That is assuming that John Kasich doesn't count. Kasich formed an exploratory committee in 1999 to see if he could run for President in 2000 but dropped out before the Iowa straw poll and endorsed George W. Bush. It's looking more likely that Kasich will run after spending nearly $18 million to win re-election against a relative unknown. It certainly helps Kasich that he is from the only state that matters in presidential elections. It's tough to see an electoral college victory for Republicans that does not include Ohio going for them. Perry and Kasich will be two of the strongest nominees for the Republican nomination.
The biggest news for 2016 on election night be that the Kentucky state house stayed in control of the Democratic party. The Kentucky state constitution prohibits a politician from running for two positions at the same time. The state house being controlled by the Democratic Party would make it unlikely that the state constitution would capitulate to a man that would have no choice but to filibuster himself if he was nominated for an executive post. Rand Paul would have to choose between running for re-election as the junior Senator from Kentucky or running for President. I'm not 100% sure but my guess is that Paul runs for President and when he inevitably fails because of his terribleness, he would try to organize a write-in campaign so that he can become Senator again. Paul faced an uphill battle to begin with to run for President but this would make it tougher for him. Marco Rubio is in similar situation where he will most likely have to choose between running for President or Senate.
Scott Walker and Rick Scott won their re-election bids which means I get to hear about how they have the potential to run for President in 2016. I think Walker's a lot closer to being able to run than Scott and not just because Scott looks like Lex Luthor. Scott was running against former Florida governor Charlie Crist. You know how some people say that their vote was the lesser of two evil, people in Florida in 2014 are about the only ones who can honestly say that. These two candidates were two of the most unpopular candidates in the whole country running for election and somehow Scott got re-elected. Scott's ability to rub people the wrong way and consistently have scandals follow him is impressive but not something that the Republican Party wants in their Presidential nominee. Walker, on the other hand, has been running for President since he survived his recall election. He has consistently shown that he can follow through with trying to crush unions and somehow make it seem that's what we need to do. Unfortunately for him, first time nominees don't typically do that well during the Republican primary. My money would be on Walker to be the nominee out of the those who are running for the first time.
The only good news about the 2014 elections for the 2016 presidential nomination process is that I didn't have to hear that much about Chris Christie. There has been some news in recent days about the bridge scandal and Chris Christie. The Republicans in New Jersey are saying that the Democrats are playing politics and that the investigation was a sham. So they have their own separate investigation into the issue. Seemingly nobody cares but since it's Chris Christie, we have to talk about something.
I actually forgot that Ben Carson was a thing. Carson is proof positive that if you talk about how the Democrats are the real racists and invoke God into everything you talk about regardless of if it makes sense, you will look really good in early polling and be able to be on Fox News a lot. You'll probably also get a fat book contract at some point. Ultimately, the fact that he has never run for office before will not allow him to advance very far in the primary process.
Paul Ryan won't run for President as he has never has faced even a statewide election and received his dream committee chairmanship. Ted Cruz is comfortable, as far as I can tell, being the Senator who disrupts everything in Washington. I don't see his end game as being President. In fact, I don't see Cruz's end game at all.
I think I summed up the last few months pretty well for the potential candidates.
Here are the updated Republican Presidential power rankings, listed from highest probability to being the nominee to lowest:
1. John Kasich, Governor, Ohio
2. Scott Walker, Governor, Wisconsin
3. Chris Christie, Governor, New Jersey
4. Rick Perry, former Governor, Texas
5. Jeb Bush, former Governor, Florida
6. Rand Paul, Senator, Kentucky
7. Marco Rubio, Senator, Florida
8. Rob Portman, Senator, Ohio
9. Kelly Ayotte, Senator, New Hampshire
10. Ben Carson, surgeon
555 (approximately). Rudy Giuliani