How a loss can still be a win for presidential hopefulsFrank Luntz
(CBS News) – For many Republican presidential hopefuls, losing could still mean winning.
If they can stay in the race, there’s a lot to gain beyond the party’s nomination — like cashing in with lucrative TV deals and opportunities to sell some books along the way, reports CBS News correspondent Julianna Goldman.
Mike Huckabee won the Iowa caucuses in 2008 and scored his own cable show. He’s running again this year.
In 2012, Herman Cain, a former pizza chain executive, became a best-selling author after briefly rising to the top of the pack with a catchy tax plan and impressive debate performances.
Donald Trump could be the latest to announce his bid for presidency Tuesday, and the number of Republicans getting in this year is unprecedented. They may not have the poll numbers, campaign cash, or support of party leaders, but with a wide-open primary and no obvious frontrunner, many are saying “why not.”
CBS News contributor and GOP strategist Frank Luntz said benefits can outweigh costs.
“There’s an advantage in running for president, in writing books, in appearing on TV shows and getting speeches,” Luntz said. “Arguably you lose about a year’s worth of income and you get as much as 10 years in value.”
With upwards of 16 likely candidates, there’s one wrinkle in this cycle: many longshots won’t even make it to the primetime debate stage. The Republican National Committee wants to limit participants after the debate-athon four years ago where there were up to 30 contests.
“If a candidate can’t get into the debates then it’s going to be very difficult for those candidates to convince their staff and volunteers to stick around,” said Larry Sabato, director of the University of Virginia Center for Politics.
It’s during those debates that longshots, often operating without the savvy campaign structure and cash, can make their mark.
For some candidates, including Rand Paul, that means shaping the national conversation.
“Sometimes these Don Quixote-type candidates have an even greater impact than frontrunners because they bring a powerful issue to the forefront,” Luntz said.
Rand Paul’s father and former Congressman Ron Paul, a three-time Libertarian candidate, bashed the Federal Reserve and foreign intervention.
“Policy and issues certainly drive some candidates. Lindsey Graham is an excellent example. He’s not going to be the next president in all probability, but I think he’d be just as happy if he played a role in knocking Rand Paul out of the race. He has the opposite foreign policy views from Sen. Rand Paul,” Sabato said.
Even if candidates don’t make it to the debate stage, they could still stay in if they have a well-funded Super PAC behind them. And you never know — around this time in 1991, Bill Clinton was in 13th place.