GOP Field Widens

Monday, May 23, 2011 - 7:29am

A new candidate jumps into the GOP Primary race.

We didn't expect to hear from Tim Pawlenty until today, but his big announcement came on the Internet last night. Announcing his candidacy, the former Minnesota Governor ignores Republicans and focuses directly on President Obama, "We need a President who understands that our problems are deep and who has the courage to face them. President Obama doesn't; I do," said Governor Tim Pawlenty (R-MN) on his website.

He joins former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney who's raised millions and leads early polls and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich.

Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels said Sunday he won't run, but GOP Strategist Mike Murphy feels that there will be more candidate announcements to come, "it's going to be down to Romney, Huntsman, Pawlenty, and then a kind of an entertaining candidate who won't get nominated," he said on Sunday’s Meet The Press.

His bet? Herman Cain. The former pizza executive announced Saturday. He wants a 23 percent sales tax - and no income tax to fix the debt problem, "they wait until a problem is at a disaster point and then go to the American people and say, ‘we have no choice.’ That's not leadership," said Herman Cain.

House Budget Chair Paul Ryan Says he's not running, but left the door Cracked Open, "You never know what opportunities present themselves way down the road,” he said on NBC’s Meet The Press. “I'm not talking about right now."

No women in the race so far, but there has been no official word from Michelle Bachman and Sarah Palin.

Tracie Potts, NBC News.

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