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*Gov. Mitch Daniels of Indiana: Mr. Christie may be getting more attention, but Mr. Daniels has been practicing fiscal restraint longer and has the state’s humming economy to show for it. It’s doubtful that Indiana could support two presidential candidates, however, which means he and Mr. Pence may have to draw straws to see who gets to run in 2012.

*Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana: He is probably the only politician in history whose reputation actually improved after a hurricane. His decisive response to Hurricane Gustav in 2008, conservative views and policy-wonk credentials could make him the brainy-but-cool-guy-in-a-crisis type that voters want to see in 2012.

*Gov. Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota: He has managed to push conservative policies in a liberal state without losing his popularity. He kept his promise to balance the state’s budget without raising taxes, and later won a fight with the teachers’ unions to enact statewide performance pay. If Mr. Thune enters the race, however, the question arises about whether the GOP field is big enough for two lanky Scandinavian-Americans from Fargo country.