The Republican field for president is remarkably large, but are there really 36 possible contenders for the nomination? That's how many options a new online straw poll from the Republican National Committee offers.
"Ted Cruz. Rand Paul. Marco Rubio. Ben Carson. Carly Fiorina. Mike Huckabee. These are just a few of the conservative leaders who have announced their candidacy for the Republican presidential nomination," reads an email from the RNC announcing the poll. "It's quite an impressive lineup so far. And it's still growing. Who are you rooting for?"
The poll offers those six already declared candidates and includes the likely contenders like Jeb Bush, Scott Walker, Chris Christie, Bobby Jindal, John Kasich, and Rick Perry. There are a few longshots who may not actually run but have said they might, like Donald Trump, John Bolton, Peter King, Lindsey Graham, Mike Pence, and George Pataki. (No Bob Ehrlich, however.) Altogether, that's a big and pretty comprehensive poll, but then things get out of control.
First, nearly every 2012 presidential contender is listed, from Mitt Romney (who announced months ago he wasn't running) and Rick Santorum (who may run again) to Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich, and Tim Pawlenty. Would Ron Paul really run again, and against his son? Probably not, but he's listed on the poll, too. Michele Bachmann isn't there, but some almost-candidates from the 2012 cycle are, like Haley Barbour, Mitch Daniels, and Sarah Palin.
The RNC then throws in a few senators and governors for good measure. Nikki Haley, John Thune, Brian Sandoval, Kelly Ayotte, Susana Martinez, Tim Scott. Add former congressman Allen West, a potential candidate in his own mind, and former secretary of state Condoleezza Rice, and you're at a ridiculous 35 candidates.
Who's number 36, you ask? Mark Everson. Who's Mark Everson, you ask? Beats me.
But if that list isn't exhaustive enough, the RNC doesn't want you to be disappointed. "Have another candidate in mind?" it says before a field where users can submit another name. This part of the survey is, thankfully, "optional."