From Milwaukee, Wisconsin
The sight of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker standing with Jeb Bush at an education event on Monday outside Milwaukee was a fresh reminder of just how much the Republican race for President has changed, and hnow much it may still change before voters in Iowa starting making their 2016 choice on February 1.
When I was here just a few months ago, Walker and Bush were the frontrunners – now, Walker is out of the race and Bush is struggling to stay in contention, looking for a better debate performance.
“I’m looking forward to it, absolutely,” Bush told reporters after his event with Gov. Walker.
“Just going to talk about the things that are important to people,” Bush said. “I’m going to talk to the American people.”
Recent polls though have shown Bush falling to the third tier of candidates, with Donald Trump and Ben Carson leading the way, with Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz next in the GOP race.
For now though, Republican voters may have established that hierachy, but they have made plan to pollsters that their minds could still change – like in a CNN poll from Iowa late last week.
Just think of that for a minute – half of voters in this survey in Iowa say they haven’t made up their mind – almost another quarter could change their vote.
A lot could still change in the GOP race.
While Bush was at his event with Gov. Walker, Marco Rubio was not far away at his own rally in suburban Milwaukee, showing off fresh evidence that he is gaining in this race.
“This election is a generational choice,” Rubio told a crowd in Pewaukee. “No matter who we elect, it seems like nothing changes.”
Rubio and Bush will be next to each other on the GOP debate stage on Tuesday night – as Rubio will have Donald Trump on one side and Bush on the other.
This debate will be the smallest gathering yet for Republicans, with eight candidates on the main stage, and four in the pre-debate debate.
Not invited to this debate sponsored by the Fox Business Channel and the Wall Street Journal were George Pataki and Lindsey Graham.
In a sense, the GOP debates have done their job, slowly winnowing the field.
The first debate featured 17 Republicans.
The second debate had 15 candidates, after Rick Perry and Jim Gilmore left the race.
The third debate had 14 Republicans, after Scott Walker dropped his bid for the White House.
Now, we are down to 12 overall, with less than three months to go until Iowa and New Hampshire.
The next debate is on December 15 in Las Vegas. It shouldn’t surprise any of us if the GOP field is smaller by then as well.