The days following the GOP presidential debate tonight at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, Calif., would be a great time for candidates without much traction to take the hint and hang it up.
Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry and his dark-rimmed glasses had a vision and got out just before the weekend. I believe several others will follow suit as early as this weekend.
So far, only Carly Fiorina has matriculated from the lower tier to the upper tier debate lineup with all of the so-called front runners. I don’t see anybody in the lower tier surviving to participate in the next Republican debate, scheduled for Oct. 28 in Boulder, Colo.
To borrow from ESPN’s On-The-Bubble idea for the NCAA basketball tournament, here are my Top-Five-Most-Likely-To-Exit GOP candidates:
1. Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum He can’t seem to pick up the scent or the trail of past successes, not even in Iowa where he placed first in 2012 Iowa Caucuses.
2. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal His attempts to spoof Donald Trump lately, and likely tonight, have been too little, too late.
3. New York Gov. George Pataki Can you say Lost in Space and outside radio communications contact?
4. Former Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore Because of a poor performance in qualifying polls, he wasn’t even invited to this latest debate.
5. Tie: South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham and Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee. Graham could hang on so he could participate in the South Carolina Primary early next year; Huckabee’s role seems to be totally eclipsed by that of retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson. Plus, Huckabee has a radio show to feed in the future.
Who do you think, or hope, is headed for the exit ramp? Please share your thoughts.
The Top Tier field tonight: Donald Trump, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, U.S. Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, Ohio Gov. John Kasich and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Carly Fiorina.