Carville: Bush, Perry Are the Republicans to Watch for 2016

Tuesday, 29 Apr 2014 10:29 PM

By Cathy Burke

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Put your money on former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Texas Gov. Rick Perry in the race among Republican contenders for a 2016 White House bid, Democratic strategist James Carville says.

Handicapping the Republican field like he would the Kentucky Derby – confessing "it might not be very fashionable . . . to be a horse degenerate, but that's what I am" – Carville's column for The Hill on Tuesday says the GOP presidential "horse race" comes down to a three-candidate field: Bush, Perry and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker.

"I think if I went to the window right now, I would bet the exacta on Bush, Perry," the Fox News contributor writes.

Urgent: Who Is Your Choice for the GOP's 2016 Nominee?

Breaking down his railbird reasoning, Carville notes, "Best practice says you go throughout the field and throw out the horses that cannot win."

"A candidate that can win the Republican nomination, at least since 1944 — with the possible, and I mean possible, exception of 1964, with the nomination of Barry Goldwater . . . was the one who had the capacity to raise the most money and who had the ability to draw across wide sections of the Republican Party to grab support," he says.

Given that Republicans never nominate against the mainstream of their party "again, with the possible exception of 1964 . . . I think we can throw out Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio."

That leaves Bush, Perry and Walker galloping to the lead, though the Louisiana native quips, "I am torn as to where to put my own governor, Bobby Jindal."

"I tend to throw him out of the running because most nominees for president have had national stature at this point . . . but I might include him in a small play to hit a jackpot," he wrote.

Carville narrows the field a little further, noting that Walker "can mold himself more in the mainstream, but I am completely uncertain as to his ability to run on a track in a race of this magnitude and duration."

Perry's advantage, Carville writes, is that "he has been around the track once and he knows what the track is like. The only problem for him is that it is the same track he essentially finished last on."

But, Carville concludes, Perry "can raise a bucket load of money without even trying, and Gov. Perry, unlike Walker, has got a compelling economic story to tell. And I think he's more electable."

Urgent: Who Is Your Choice for the GOP's 2016 Nominee?

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