Diversity abounds in GOP presidential candidates

Published 9:32 am Tuesday, April 21, 2015

By Brian Hensley, My Point of View

Many exciting Republican candidates are emerging.

Brian Hensley

Brian Hensley

Many people will not be that excited, and to be honest, many people will not even notice. But it is happening. All around us. And especially to our south.

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Presidential candidates are emerging from everywhere —at least on one side, the Republican side. (And I couldn’t be happier.)

This year and next are going to be interesting times in a very diverse, very crowded and exciting Republican primary to become the Republican nominee for president.

I’m proud that there are currently almost 20 Republicans that are actively looking at running for president on the Republican ticket.

There are current and former governors of Wisconsin (Scott Walker), Florida (Jeb Bush), New Jersey (Chris Christie), Ohio (John Kasich), New York (George Pataki), Louisiana (Bobby Jindal) and Texas (Rick Perry).

There are current and former senators from Texas (Ted Cruz), Kentucky (Rand Paul), Florida (Marco Rubio), South Carolina (Lindsey Graham), and Pennsylvania (Rick Santorum).

There are business men and women from technology companies (Carly Fiorina), real estate investor (Donald Trump), film makers (Dennis Lynch) and conservative commentator and political pundit (Mike Huckabee and Ben Carson), past U.S. ambassador to the United Nations (John Bolton) and former IRS Commissioner (Mark Everson).

We have men. We have women. We have candidates that have spent time in politics and candidates that have great aspirations of changing Washington, D.C., who are new to the process. We have candidates that have run businesses. We have candidates who are quite gray, and we have young new faces. We have candidates who are white, Hispanic, Indian and black. Some have aspired their whole life to be president and others seem a bit reluctant to run this race.

We have candidates that have moved the Republican Party forward from being a party of or about one issue. Common themes prevail, as they should, in a Republican primary.  Those themes typically come down to personal responsibility, freedom to pursue your American dream, support of the Constitution and the liberty to live your life as you choose.

What an amazing choice Republicans will have over the next 18 months.

I look across the political divide, and I’m sure my Democratic friends might be a little jealous of all the choices available on our side. Democrats have one candidate. They clearly don’t have a new face. They don’t have fresh new ideas. They have a Washington insider, that many Americans simply don’t trust to have in the White House for a second time. There are many trust issues: from hidden and deleted emails to questions that seem to never be answered about what exactly happened in Benghazi.

To those Democratic friends, I ask that you be open and listen over the next 18 months. There might be some things you like happening in our tent and with our candidates. Many of you embraced many great Republican candidates over the years and even proudly wore titles like Blue Dog Democrats and Reagan Democrats when the Democratic Party left you.  I think it might be happening again, and we would love to have your support for candidates that represent your Minnesotan views.

Up and down the ticket, from the presidential race, to candidates considering running for Congress and the Minnesota Senate, Republicans have a deep bench of exciting candidates who are eager to tell you their story and hear your thoughts.

That might be something worth getting excited about.


Brian Hensley is chairman of the Freeborn Republican Party.