Republican activists want a candidate who is not just conservative on nearly every issue, but has been so his or her entire career. A good enough politician to debate and then defeat President Obama. Charismatic too.
They’re still looking. The overwhelming victory by businessman and longshot candidate Herman Cain in a straw poll here Saturday was a sign that the latest person to try to capture the fancy of party activists, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, is at least for now struggling to do so.
Many of the more than 2,600 delegates at the Florida event said their vote for Cain was a way to register their frustration with all the GOP candidates, particularly Perry, who they felt gave a dismal performance at Thursday’s debate.
But in interviews, the party activists, who came from around the state to see the candidates, said they were unlikely to vote for in Florida’s primary next year for the underfunded Cain, who they don’t think can win the general election. Backing Cain was effectively a “no confidence” vote for the entire field.
Brian Donnelly, a Republican from Broward County, opted for Cain, but said he seemed “less electable,” than Perry, who he described as a “tongue-tied Texan.” Donnelly said he did not even consider backing the “father of socialized medicine,” criticizing former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney for the health care law adopted in the Bay State four years ago that became a model for the law Obama signed last year.
One narrative of the Republican primary field has been the number of prominent potential candidates, such as Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) and governors Chris Christie (N.J.) and Mitch Daniels (Ind.), who have opted against entering the race despite the urging of party activists.
But Republicans aren’t making it on easy on potential candidates or the current field. In the spring, the party’s more policy-oriented types were dismissive of the potential candidacies of businessman Donald Trump and former Alaska governor Sarah Palin. Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee found little enthusiasm for him among the party’s donors in 2008 and was likely to face a similar challenge if he ran again in 2012.
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SOURCE: The Washington Post
Perry Bacon Jr.