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Wash. Post's Dan Balz: Still No GOP Front-Runner

Image: Wash. Post's Dan Balz: Still No GOP Front-Runner
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By    |   Wednesday, 11 Nov 2015 02:42 PM

The race for the GOP presidential nomination still has no front-runner — despite four debates and months of campaigning and polling, according to Washington Post chief correspondent Dan Balz.

"The winnowing has been minimal," Balz writes in an analysis of the Republican presidential primary field Wednesday.

"More rather than fewer candidates still harbor dreams of accepting the nomination next summer in Cleveland. That means the incentives argue in favor of staying in to see how things shake out, rather than quitting in the face of tepid poll numbers or weak fundraising."

Republicans celebrate "the breadth and depth" of the candidates' field, Balz notes.

But at some point, "they will have to pick the person to lead them."

"The campaign has moved beyond the period of introduction," he argues. "The next phase will bring more heated engagement and with it, perhaps, greater clarity. To date, the campaign has produced anything but."

Instead, Balz writes, the campaign race so far has been a contest of "smaller battles" touched off by the impressive rises of political outsiders Donald Trump and retired pediatric surgeon Ben Carson.

And their ascension "coincided with the diminishment of the biggest name in the field" – former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, he writes.

"Two weeks ago, his standing had sunk so low that his advisers were asked whether he might soon quit the race," Balz writes. "Today, revived by his performance in Tuesday’s debate, those questions have faded to the background. That’s a small consolation for a candidate who was expected to be the most formidable in the field, but it is something to cling to."

Other contenders, however, "aren’t quite sure what to do about Trump and Carson."

"If the campaign turns to policy, [Trump and Carson] will be challenged," he writes. "But if this year is about things other than policy prescriptions, then the other candidates will have to decide when to engage them."

Meanwhile, many Republicans look for a looming "collision" between Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, both of whom are looking for "wider popular support."

Likewise, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Ohio Gov. John Kasich also are "on a collision course," he writes.

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The race for the GOP presidential nomination still has no front-runner - despite four debates and months of campaigning and polling, according to Washington Post chief correspondent Dan Balz.
dan balz, gop, front-runner, presidential race
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2015-42-11
Wednesday, 11 Nov 2015 02:42 PM
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