Norquist: 2016 GOP Presidential Field Will be Strongest Since 1980

Thursday, 14 Nov 2013 01:15 PM

By Dan Weil

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The Republican primary contest for the presidency in 2016 will include the strongest line up of candidates since 1980, when Ronald Reagan beat out George H.W. Bush to claim the party nomination, says Grover Norquist.

The 2016 GOP candidate pool "is going to be the strongest field the Republicans have had since Reagan ran," the conservative president of Americans for Tax Reform said Wednesday at a Washington conference sponsored by The Atlantic, Politico reported.

Norquist wasn't too impressed with last year's Republican field.

In 2012, "you had 10 Republicans on stage. Three of them were running for president, the other seven were running for radio talk show hosts or to sell books," he said. "This time around, look at who is on the table."

Among the potential 2016 Republican candidates, Norquist listed five present or former governors and one lone senator. His list of solid contenders included New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul.

He said governors usually have a stronger base to run from than senators because they can cite specific accomplishments in their states, while senators "have speeches they can give."

The great thing, though, about all his choices, Norquist said, is "they're all running as Reagan Republicans."

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