The already wide-open field of potential GOP nominees appears to be expanding even more, with exploratory teams and strategy sessions popping up all over the place, while none have yet to officially announced their candidacy.
There are at least 25 key potential candidates who are showing interest in the 2016 GOP nomination, according to Politics1.com
, along with a large slate of other, lesser-known people who may eventually state their intentions.
The potential Democrat field, in comparison, contains just five key candidates, along with a long list of others who may show interest before 2016 rolls around.
But on the Republican side, lawmakers who are rapidly becoming household names took definite steps toward starting campaigns, reports The Washington Post
● Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, who met with his finance team over the weekend in his state, and brought in American Crossroads finance director Anna Rogers to head fundraising for his political action committee.
● Sarah Palin, who said late last week that she is interested in running and said during the Iowa Freedom Summit Saturday that she is "seriously interested."
● Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who made a stirring showing in the Iowa event
, hired David Polyansky, the senior strategist for Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst's campaign, to be his key man in Iowa.
● Powerhouses Mitt Romney and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who met in Salt Lake City late last week and discussed the future.
● South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, who recently made an announcement that he has set up a "testing the water committee."
● Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who told conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt that he is considering entering the race.
That's not counting potential candidates like New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, Donald Trump, and countless others who took the stage at Saturday's day-long Iowa Freedom Summit
, or Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, who missed the Iowa event to hold his own religious-based gathering in Louisiana.
With the field so wide open, the potential voters are already divided over who they want to get the nod. According to a Real Clear Politics compilation of polls
to date, Romney leads by 9.1 points, at 20.3 percent of polled voters, followed by Bush with 11.2 percent.
None of the other potential candidates most often mentioned in polls, including Carson, Christie, Perry, and Huckabee, are breaking the overall double-digit mark.
The large number of candidates could also affect fundraising, reports the Post. Even if just Bush, Romney, Christie, Walker and Rubio run, it will push the party's major donors to choose sides early, which could make it difficult for any one of them to raise the $75 million estimated to mount campaigns in the early states of Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina.
The growing field could also keep the Republican National Committee from choosing a nominee to back early and to focus donations on defeating probable Democrat nominee Hillary Clinton.
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