Republican Nomination Is Anybody's Game In Lead Up To 2016 White House Race

The Republican ticket is anybody's game at this early stage in the lead up to the 2016 U.S. presidential elections, though the 2012 Republican candidate Mitt Romney has announced not to run again.

After Romney's announcement of his decision on Friday, the Republican stage is still full with candidates who could face off in a tight competition to clinch the party's nomination for the 2016 race and then fight to take back the White House.

There is no clear front runner so far in the Republican camp, and new candidates could emerge to the surprise of analysts, Washington watchers and pundits.

Certainly, Republicans need a candidate with real star power to match the international celebrity of former first lady and Obama administration's former secretary of state Hillary Clinton, who is Democrats' likely nominee and is considered a formidable opponent.

While much could change before election season comes into full swing, Republican strategist Ford O'Connell told Xinhua that right now there are three candidates who could stand up to Clinton's international fame: former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, also younger brother of former President George W. Bush, Florida Senator Marco Rubio and Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker.

According to O'Connell, Rubio will be helped by the fact that he has made his own way in the world and will not be viewed as an elitist. He had attended community college, before graduating from a law school and racking up a hefty amount of student loans in the process, which he worked to pay off later.

Read more from Matthew Rusling at Xinhua 

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Analysis & Political Strategy