CHARLES BAKER: The favorite
1) Charles Baker
CEO, Harvard Pilgrim
The party establishment’s favorite, and with good reason. He skipped the governor’s race this year, but four years from now, the kids will be grown and Republicans will be begging for him to run.
2) Michael Sullivan
Acting director, Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives
On leave from his job as Boston’s US Attorney, the ambitious and well-connected Sullivan appears poised for a permanent Washington appointment, either in the Justice Department or Homeland Security. That should put him in perfect position to run for John Kerry’s Senate seat in ’08.
3) Reed Hillman
Candidate for lieutenant governor
Even if the ticket loses, he will have built a state-wide base of support to go along with impressive credentials.
4) Scott Brown
Many Republican activists love him, some think he’s an airhead, but they all know he’s a good candidate who has ambition. It’s still unclear whether his daughter’s American Idol turn (new album drops soon!) helps or hurts.
5) Chris Egan
President, Carruth Capital
As EMC Corp. heir, he has the money, the desire, and the connections to do whatever he wants. He’s frequently cited as an ideal state party chair, but he may be looking for a national role, like his ambassador father.
6) Frank Cousins
Sheriff, Essex County
People inside the party like him a lot and consider him a prospect for higher office, but he hasn’t built up a war chest and his aims are unclear.
7) Karyn Polito
She’s ambitious and sharp and, as you may notice, pretty much the only woman the party has to promote.
8) Bob Hedlund
Although not the most effective or admired GOP state senator, Hedlund stands out as the one conservative who could emerge as the voice of opposition to a Deval Patrick administration.
9) Tim Cruz
District attorney, Plymouth County
Cruz, like Sheriff Cousins, is considered a rising star from the law-and-order side.
10) Joe McDonald
Sheriff, Plymouth County
He barely squeaked into power two years ago, but McDonald has cleaned up a rotten office in high style and has taken the lead in high-profile — and voter-friendly — initiatives.
11) Bradley Jones
Minority leader in the house, barely 40 years old, and fiscally conservative; expect Jones’s profile to rise in the coming years.
12) John Brockelman
Andrew Card: could he be interested?
Former party chair and Weld/Cellucci operative, Brockelman is one of the old guard still young enough to have a future if he returns to the scene.
13) Beth Lindstrom
Board member, Massachusetts Transit Authority
Lindstrom, one of the rehabilitated members of the scandal-plagued treasurer’s office under Joe Malone, became Romney’s consumer-affairs chief and was supposed to run for treasurer this year.
14) Kevin Sullivan
Like Brockelman, Sullivan is a well-liked insider — secretary of administration and finance under Jane Swift — who has gone private during the Romney years.
15) James Rappaport
Real estate developer
Just four years ago he was poised to be lieutenant governor, and surely governor after that. Then Kerry Healey came and ruined the plan. He talks to the Massachusetts press a lot for someone who claims to be out of the game.