Senate insiders see Rand Paul, Marco Rubio or Rick Perry leading 2016 GOP ticket

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Politics,Paul Bedard,Washington Secrets,Marco Rubio,Senate,Republican Party,Texas,Rand Paul,Campaigns,Rick Perry

Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who stumbled out of the GOP presidential primary gates in 2012, appears poised for a revival in the upcoming 2016 primaries, according to key congressional aides and members who are already sizing up the Republican field.

Perry joins Sens. Rand Paul and Marco Rubio as the Republicans most likely to win the nomination, according to the aides, several of whom were involved in the past two presidential elections, and a handful of members including a key Senate conservative.

Missing from the list: New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who the insiders said is too blunt and moderate to punch through the early conservative presidential primaries and caucuses. Some polls, however, put Christie at the top of the 2016 field.

Paul is far ahead of others in laying the groundwork for a national campaign, having already visited or announced plans to visit key primary and caucus states while building his brand in the Senate. Rubio would be a big winner if he is able to help push through immigration reform, an issue key to the GOP, which is seeking to broaden support among Hispanics.

Perry's emergence, though, is something of a surprise. Insiders credit his ability to create jobs in Texas and challenge the president on employment. He is also starting his own national jobs campaign, with stops in New York and Connecticut to urge businesses to move to Texas.

Paul Bedard, The Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at pbedard@washingtonexaminer.com. His column appears each weekday in the Politics section on washingtonexaminer.com.