After midterms, the race for the White House is on

2014-11-05 21:07


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Washington - Let the campaign begin.

Fresh off the resounding Republican win in midterm elections, all eyes - and political minds - in Washington are now narrowing in on the 2016 presidential election.

For the Democrats, smarting from a sound Republican beating, Hillary Clinton - the ex-secretary of state and former first lady - is not officially a candidate, but is the presumptive nominee.

For the Republicans, things are not as simple. A dozen names are in play, but no one has emerged as a favourite.

Voters will elect the 45th president of the United States on 8 November 2016. The two main parties will stage their primaries in the early part of that year.

But the months ahead are crucial - candidacies will be announced, rallies will be held, horse-trading will happen behind closed doors... and campaign funds will be raised.

While Tuesday's big win for Republicans is a major slap in the face to Democrats, who lost control of the Senate, it is not necessarily bad news for Clinton if she decides to make another run for the White House, eight years after losing to Barack Obama in the primaries.

The Republicans about to reign supreme on Capitol Hill will provide the 67-year-old Clinton with strong fodder for her eventual campaign platform.

The former senator from New York will seek to exploit the internal rifts in a Republican party still struggling to assimilate a feisty Tea Party contingent with little desire to stay in line with veteran leaders.

Republican Senator Rand Paul, one of those weighing a White House run, did not wait long to launch the first salvo in the White House battle.

"Tuesday's biggest loser is @HillaryClinton," Paul said on Twitter soon after the Republican victory was clear.

The Kentucky senator then posted a series of photos on Facebook showing Clinton stumping for Democratic candidates who lost on Tuesday - with the hashtag #HillarysLosers.

Will she or won't she? 

"After a historic rebuke in yesterday's [Tuesday's] midterms, the Obama-Clinton policies will be on the ballot again in 2016," the Republican National Committee said in a research memo listing how the former rivals are inextricably linked.

The RNC went on to argue that the numbers don't add up for sending another Democrat to the White House.

Indeed, rarely does one party win three consecutive terms at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. In the past 60 years, it has only happened once, when George HW Bush succeeded Ronald Reagan.

Clinton is expected to make her intentions known in early 2015. While her actions seem to telegraph her plans to run, some doubt remains.

The wife of former president Bill Clinton has said she plans to enjoy her new role of grandmother - her daughter Chelsea gave birth to Charlotte in September - before making any decisions on her future in politics.

If she decides not to run, the Democrats could find themselves in a tough spot, as she has so dominated the 2016 conversation for the past year.

Vice President Joe Biden, who is five years older than Clinton, has left his options open and made it clear he would like another crack at the White House, but Washington insiders think it's unlikely.

Tuesday's shock election of a Republican governor in Maryland has weakened the chances of outgoing Democrat Martin O'Malley, another hopeful.

 Jeb Bush on the fence 

On the Republican side, rarely has a race been as open.

First question mark: former Florida governor Jeb Bush, the son of George HW Bush and the brother of George W Bush. After 41 and 43, the Bush family could see president number 45.

But Jeb - more of a centrist than his brother - is hesitant.

Earlier this year, his mother Barbara made known her mixed feelings about political dynasties - the Kennedys, the Bushes, the Clintons.

"This is a great country. And if we can't find more than two or three families to run for higher office, that's silly," she said.

Since then, she hasn't said much.

A bunch of other names are in the mix: Senators Marco Rubio of Florida and Ted Cruz of Texas, and a host of governors - Chris Christie (New Jersey), Rick Perry (Texas), Scott Walker (Wisconsin) and Bobby Jindal (Louisiana).

Former Arkansas governor Mick Huckabee is also regularly listed as a possible candidate.

Mitt Romney, who lost the Republican primary to Senator John McCain in 2008 and the election to Obama in 2012, has resurfaced.

Romney has initially ruled out another run, but lately has been more vague in his public comments on the matter.

Read more on:    hillary clinton  |  us  |  us elections 2016

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