As it becomes official that President Obama's impressive GOTV machine also won him the closely contested state of Florida to enlarge his Electoral College lead over his Republican challenger former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, presidential political junkies have started to look at 2016 and the potential figures who could represent both the Republican and Democratic parties in the next presidential contest. And while for some it's too soon to start talking about the next election, for others 2016 could not come soon enough. So in the spirit of prediction, here are the front runners of the 2016 presidential election:
1. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie:
The Keynote Speaker at the 2012 Republican National Convention, Christie was criticized for focusing his prime-time speech on himself as opposed to his party's standard bearer Mitt Romney. He was the only one, however, who predicted Romney would win the first presidential debate "turning the race upside down" after the Republican nominee's infamous "47%" gaffe. On the eve of the election, and while effectively dealing with Hurricane Sandy, Christie ruffled feathers in the GOP by praising President Obama's recovery efforts.
2. Florida Senator Marco Rubio:
The Cuban-American Tea Party darling who rose to prominence by defeating Republican-turned-Independent former Florida Governor Charlie Christ in the 2010 Senate race, was in the short list for Romney's VP nominee. Rubio, who also delivered a passionate speech at the RNC, geared towards attracting the much needed Latino vote into the GOP tent, has already made a trip to Iowa.
3. Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan:
The Chairman of the House Budget Committee, and 2012 vice presidential nominee, is the de facto front runner of the Republican Party for the 2016 presidential election. However, when Speaker of the House John Boehner was asked about Ryan's prospects for a 2016 run, the speaker seemed to have dismissed the young congressman as nothing but "a policy wonk."
4. Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush:
To those who think the Oval Office is done when it comes to the Bushes, the popular former Florida governor — known for urging the GOP to be more open to Hispanic voters, who speaks perfect Spanish and is married to Mexican-American Columba Bush — may have a surprise in storage.
1. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton:
There's no one that Democrats would like to have running in 2016 more than Hillary. Her experience as the nation's leading diplomat, coupled with the resolve and strength she showed in the bruising 2008 Democratic primary against now President Obama, make her the perfect candidate to crush any Republican rival and extend the Democratic Party's reign into 2016 and beyond.
2. Vice President Joe Biden:
When voting during the 2012 election, Biden was asked if this was the last time he would vote fir himself. The gaffe-prone former Chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations was clear when responding "no," leaving open the possibility that — as former Vice President Al Gore in 2000 — he'd be the one carrying the Democratic torch into 2016.
3. Senator Elect Elizabeth Warren:
The former Harvard Professor and Consumer Protection Advocate, who just unseated former Republican Senator Scott Brown to recover for the Democrats the seat held by the late Ted Kennedy, is another potential candidate for president in 2016. Dubbed "a true progressive" by her followers Warren would have to make herself known outside of the Northeastern circles where she is famous albeit controversial for claiming to be the intellectual author of the Occupy Wall Street movement as well as for embellishing her ethnic heritage.
4. Newark Mayor Cory Booker:
Booker came under fire for standing up to his party during the 2012 presidential campaign, condemning the Obama campaign's attacks on challenger Mitt Romney over his experience as a private equity executive for the firm Bain Capital. Booker is also known for going on a 10-day hunger strike outdoors to draw attention to the dangers of open-air drug dealing, shoveling the driveway of a constituent upon request, allowing hurricane victims into his home, and saving a woman from a house fire at his own risk.