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GOP Governors Fizzle in 2016 Presidential Race

Republican governors were supposed to be the stars of this year's presidential election but they've so far fizzled out.
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For many Republicans -- and especially for some of their presidential candidates -- 2016 was supposed to be the year of the governor.

Instead, the Republican race so far has been about the departing and disappearing governors.

"I believe governors make better presidents than members of Congress," Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker said on NBC's "Meet the Press" a year ago.

"It's going to be a show me, don't tell me election," former Texas Gov. Rick Perry declared.

"You know, we've got a lot of great talkers running for president. We've already got a great talker in the White House. We cannot afford four more years of on-the-job training. We need a doer, not a talker," Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal said in his first debate.

The logic: Republican governors (and ex-governors) were set up to capitalize on 1) the anger at Washington, and 2) the GOP critique that President Obama was too inexperienced before entering the Oval Office.

The reality, however: Walker, Perry and Jindal all have suspended their presidential campaigns, with Jindal's announcement coming Tuesday night.

In addition, two other sitting governors -- New Jersey's Chris Christie and Ohio's John Kasich -- have failed to catch fire in the polling.

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In maybe the biggest surprise of the election season, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush -- a son and brother to former presidents -- has gone from front-runner to also-ran in the GOP presidential contest.

Another former governor, Arkansas’ Mike Huckabee, has been demoted to the undercard debate.

And two other former governors, New York's George Pataki and Virginia's Jim Gilmore, no longer even qualify to participate in the undercard debates.

One explanation for the decline of the GOP governor in the 2016 contest is the Trump Factor -- if governors were set up to be the Washington outsiders, they were immediately overtaken by Donald Trump and Ben Carson.

A second explanation is sheer number of current and former GOP governors running -- nine in total -- which divided the vote among those looking for gubernatorial experience.

And a third is the nationalization of American politics, where rhetoric is often more important than records in state capitals.

While there are still two and a half months until the first nominating contests, Rick Perry so far appears to have been wrong in his calculation about the 2016 race.

It’s been a tell-me election on the Republican side -- not a show-me election.