As Rep. Paul Ryan continues to brush off speculation that he may enter the presidential race, enthusiasm over his candidacy continues to heat up. The Weekly Standard’s Jeffrey Anderson analyzes the top potentialRepublican candidates, and finds that Ryan might be the best positioned to win in a general election:
Among top-tier prospective nominees, Ryan would have the biggest geographical advantage in a race against Obama. To win the presidency, Ryan would just have to win his home state and hold GOP-leaning Florida, Ohio, and Virginia. That would be it: election over, Obama defeated, Ryan’s pen poised to sign the Obamacare-repeal legislation.
Republicans will likely focus on flipping a Democratic-leaning tossup states like Wisconsin or Pennsylvania, especially with President Obama’s beefing up his Florida operation. According to Politico, Democrats are planning to spend close to $50 million on a state-wide campaign aimed at attacking the GOP on Medicare.
That’s not to say the president would have an easy time picking up Florida. ObamaCare is still wildly unpopular, and his recent comments on Israel’s 1967 borders could be a problem in the state. But even if Obama does manage to succeed there, Anderson writes that Ryan is one of the only candidates who could win the election without Florida:
Ryan’s competitiveness in Wisconsin would open up scenarios in which he could potentially survive even the loss of the most important state on the electoral map: Florida. Without winning Florida, a Republican who doesn’t win Wisconsin would absolutely have to win Pennsylvania. Even then, he or she would face an uphill battle, as Pennsylvania is worth 9 fewer electoral votes than the Sunshine State. Wisconsin’s 10 electoral votes, however, would more than make up that difference. Moreover, Ryan could potentially survive the loss of both Florida and Pennsylvania—which no other potential GOP nominee could realistically do—by sweeping Wisconsin, Nevada, and the three toss-up states of Colorado, Iowa, and New Hampshire.
Of course, if Republicans end up nominating a certain charismatic Floridian senator as their vice presidential candidate, Obama’s $50 million Florida campaign could all be for nothing.