Republicans To Increase Their Boots On The Trail

Their poll numbers often barely register, and they are not exactly household names. But the three Republicans announcing presidential bids this week could have an important effect on the party’s political discussion.

Monday brought a big announcement from Carly Fiorina, the former Hewlett-Packard chief executive, and Ben Carson, a retired neurosurgeon and Tea Party favorite, entered the race on Sunday evening. On Tuesday, Mike Huckabee, a former Arkansas governor, will jump back into the fray at an event in the state.

“Their importance is bringing diversity to the Republican conversation,” said Ford O’Connell, a Republican strategist who served on John McCain‘s campaign in 2008. Ms. Fiorina, who has said she could help negate Hillary Rodham Clinton’s appeal to women, could prompt Republicans to adjust their tone and speech in ways that may be helpful in the general election.

Mr. Carson, who has been a fierce critic of the Affordable Care Act, will bring firsthand knowledge of America’s health system and an outsider’s perspective. He is also the only African-American in the race so far.

Mr. Huckabee won the Iowa caucuses in 2008, and his support among evangelical Christians and social conservatives could make him a potential kingmaker for a more mainstream Republican who is struggling to consolidate voters.

Read more from Alan Rappeport at The New York Times

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Analysis & Political Strategy