- The Washington Times - Friday, February 7, 2014

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

The names on this survey suggest the Republican National Committee is ready for some big tent thinking. Can they attract tea party folks, libertarian leaners and conservative Democrats?  This roster offers two Pauls - both Ron and Rand. And Sarah Palin, John Bolton, Allen West and Ben Carson.

A sleeping giant awakening? The RNC appears to be on war footing as the competitive gleam in chairman Reince Priebus’ eye grows ever brighter. All the proper political weaponry is appearing: prowess in social media, a feisty presence online and in broadcast, strategic information gathering, image-crafting, brand-burnishing, merchandising.

“Innovate or die,” declares Chuck DeFeo, the newly named digital data officer.

Now comes the poll push, this one borrowed from the relentless tea party playbook, or perhaps the libertarian quest for untapped voter interest. The 32 names on the new straw poll offer some proof that GOP management is ready to rumble, push the envelope, open that proverbial big tent, engage all-comers and get people talking.

Behold the candidate cornucopia to consider: Sarah Palin, Ron Paul, John Bolton, Allen West, Herman Cain, Ben Carson, Rick Santorum, Jeb Bush, Condoleezza Rice, Haley Barbour, Newt Gingrich, Mike Huckabee, Tim Pawlenty and Mitch Daniels.

Among U.S. Senators: Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, Ted Cruz of Texas, Marco Rubio of Florida, Rand Paul of Kentucky, Tim Scott of South Carolina, John Thune of South Dakota and Rob Portman of Ohio; plus Reps. Peter T. King of New York and Paul Ryan of Wisconsin.

Then there’s Govs. Chris Christie of New Jersey, Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, John Kasich of Ohio, Nikki Haley of South Carolina, Susana Martinez of New Mexico, Brian Sandoval of Nevada, Mike Pence of Indiana, Rick Perry of Texas and Scott Walker of Wisconsin. There is also a write-in option, which should prove interesting.

“Who would you like to see as the Republican nominee in the 2016 presidential election?” the poll asks potential voters, requesting they name the top three choices. Find this intriguing list here

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