With Rick Santorum and George Pataki set to announce candidacies this week, and with the ranks of proto-candidates rapidly converging on those who haven’t made it official strictly for fundraising purposes or day-job responsibilities, we are very likely looking at a field of 15 candidates or so, not counting those beyond the pale of party or media respectability. Bush, Carson, Christie, Cruz, Fiorina, Graham, Huckabee, Jindal, Kasich, Pataki, Paul, Perry, Rubio, Santorum, Walker: all are currently running. Add Donald Trump, former Maryland Gov. Bob Ehrlich and former Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore, and we’ve got 18 candidates. For a point of comparison, there were nine candidates in 2012 (or ten if you count former Louisiana Gov. Buddy Roemer, who announced late and was not invited to appear in the televised debates).
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