* Many 'possibles' inexperienced, or carry baggage
* Buzz for Romney, Perry and Bachmann
* Picture could change if a candidate stumbles
By Patricia Zengerle
WASHINGTON, Aug 21 (Reuters) - Republicans still hoping
that another candidate will jump into the U.S. presidential
race and give the party a better chance of defeating President
Barack Obama in 2012 may need to get over it.
Now that Texas Governor Rick Perry has thrown his hat in --
and become a favorite -- chances are growing slimmer that
another contender will jump in and make a splash.
With state-by-state nominating contests starting early next
year, it will be very difficult for a newcomer to raise the
money and set up a campaign apparatus to defeat other
Republican candidates who have been in the race for months.
And, barring a major stumble by leading contenders Mitt
Romney, Michele Bachmann and Perry, most analysts expect a
leader will emerge in the field not far into 2012.
"Between Romney, Perry and Bachmann, they have a lot of the
current buzz and the current spectrum of the electable
Republican Party covered," said Nathan Gonzales, deputy editor
of the independent Rothenberg Political Report.
"If there were a perfect candidate, they would have been in
the race already," he said.
Some Republicans want a new candidate because they feel
Romney has failed to generate excitement, and that the former
Massachusett governor's political record -- particularly his
state healthcare plan in Massachusetts that was a model for
Obama's healthcare overhaul -- is too liberal for
They worry that Perry and Minnesota congresswoman Bachmann,
both strongly outspoken fiscal and religious conservatives,
will struggle to attract the independent voters the Republican
candidate will need to win the general election.
"That leaves a large part of the Republican middle that's
essentially open and people sort of yearn for a consensus
candidate," said Joe Schmuckler, an investment manager who was
chief financial officer for John McCain's 2008 campaign.
Several names have come up repeatedly as possible new
Republican contenders, but most either insist they are not
running or come with issues that would complicate their
campaigns should they choose to run.
PRESSURE ON CHRISTIE?
The name of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, 48, comes
up most often, although he took office only last year and has
repeatedly said he is not ready to be president.
Many analysts consider Christie the person most likely to
be pulled into the nomination race if no strong favorite
emerges in the coming months.
Christie, known for a brash style and a low-tax,
lean-government agenda, said again last week that he is not
running after a report, later retracted, that he had set up
focus groups to assess his chances on the national stage.
Wisconsin congressman Paul Ryan has reportedly been
encouraged to run by top Republicans, and is said to be
considering it. But the 41-year-old is best known nationally
for an effort to overhaul the government's Medicare insurance
plan for older Americans that drew widespread protests.
Within the Republican Party, Ryan would face heat for his
past willingness to cross party lines. He voted for Obama's
auto industry bailout and the $700 billion TARP bank bailout
program reviled by many conservatives.
Marco Rubio, 40, a Republican senator from Florida, is
another name that has come up, but he was also elected only in
If he joins the race, his career trajectory -- running for
president after just a short career in the U.S. Senate and a
stint in the state legislature -- will look remarkably similar
All three men's lack of experience would make them
vulnerable to attacks by rivals who blame the country's
economic woes and other problems on Obama's inexperience.
They also have years ahead in which they can run for
national office, and at least in 2016 they would not have to
face a strong Democratic incumbent.
Dan Ripp, president of Bradley Woods & Co. in New York, who
advises investors on government policy, said maybe people are
learning a lesson that a candidate is not ready for presidency
"just because you've got a great bio and you've got great
rhetoric and you inspire hope and change. Experience counts for
Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin and Rudy Giuliani also
are said to be considering the race.
Palin has toyed with a presidential bid for months, but,
while she has a core of support among Republicans, the 2008
vice presidential nominee is seen as a polarizing figure and
opinion polls put her behind Obama in a hypothetical race.
Giuliani, New York's former mayor, made a run for president
in 2008 which failed despite raising $55 million, and his
position on social issues is to the left of most Republicans.
(Editing by Alistair Bell and Mohammad Zargham)