Ford O’Connell At Reuters On The State Of The 2012 GOP Presidential Field Following Mitch Daniels’ Exit

The Republican field of contenders for the 2012 presidential nomination is nearly set, but that has not stopped speculation about luring another high-profile contender into the race.

One of the big questions about which Republicans will enter the race was answered on Sunday when Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels joined a long list of party stalwarts who have passed on a White House bid.

While the decision bolstered two candidates already in the race — former Governors Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota and Mitt Romney of Massachusetts — it also spotlighted efforts to coax other prominent Republicans into the fray.

Governors Chris Christie of New Jersey and Rick Perry of Texas, along with former Governor Jeb Bush of Florida, are at the top of the wish list for Republicans unhappy with the current crop of contenders.

“You are seeing a lot of discontent. Republicans want a choice, and there are some prominent holes in the field,” said party strategist Ford O’Connell.

He said the race lacked a credible social conservative and a Southern conservative with executive experience as Republicans hunt for a candidate who can bridge the gap between the party establishment and conservative activists.

Read more from John Whitesides at Reuters

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