Sizing up Perry

National Journal, one of the most widely respected sources in DC just did a poll of 99 Republican insiders asking who among the current batch of GOP governors had the brightest political future. The top mentions were:

Bobby Jindal (Louisiana)         21 percent
Haley Barbour (Mississippi)   20 percent
Tim Pawlenty   (Minnesota)    17 percent
Charlie Crist   (Florida)            13 percent

Sarah Palin (5%) tied for 7th with Mitch Daniels of Indiana. Rick Perry got no votes.

Jindal has been a bit of a disappointment so far and Barbour may have trouble winning support outside the South (or may be eclipsed by South Carolina’s Mark Sanford).  Tim Pawlenty, a close third, might be governor to watch. I thought Crist and Jon Huntsman (at 6%-the governor of  Utah recently appointed envoy to China) were especially interesting because they’re just starting to get attention.

Having a candidate from outside Washington would be a nice compliment to the GOP message. Add to that the limited appeal of the most visible Republicans in Washington and it’s clear why the statehouses are the place to watch for ’12.

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