If you had to name the Democratic candidate in 2016, one name that ends in Clinton quickly comes to mind. But for Republicans? The Washington Post recently counted up no fewer than 23 potential candidates. Which might explain why the New York Times reports that the GOP's top donors have been meeting in private to get behind a single candidate and avoid a brutal primary. The newspaper says the talks revolve around Chris Christie, Jeb Bush, and, yes, Mitt Romney. For example, the story says that previous Romney backer Woody Johnson, a billionaire who owns the New York Jets, has met with both Bush and Christie but won't commit to either until Romney decides whether he's in or out, which might not be until summer. Rand Paul and Rick Perry are mentioned later in the story.
"Talk of an establishment coronation is likely to incur the wrath of party activists and outside groups seeking a more conservative nominee," writes Nicholas Confessore. A separate Post article today report that an "invisible primary" is well underway as candidates vie to lock down the support of wealthy donors, but it adds that these donors are unusually wary about committing early. The result "could stall the GOP race for months." For the record, the Post's predicted winner at this point is Paul, followed by Christie, Bush, Marco Rubio, and Scott Walker.