Some of the Republican Party's rising national stars:
Just 41, the telegenic and bilingual Rubio has climbed steadily up the political ladder, going from a city commissioner in West Miami to the U.S. Senate in a little more than a decade. He became Florida's first Cuban-American House speaker. He defeated Gov. Charlie Crist in the 2010 Senate race after Crist switched to running as an independent when it became apparent he would lose the Republican primary to Rubio.
The blunt-talking former U.S. attorney, now 49, was elected governor of New Jersey in 2009. His sometimes confrontational style has won him both admirers and detractors. While governor he has pushed for spending cuts, property tax cuts and a contentious reorganization of New Jersey universities.
The 42-year-old Wisconsin congressman could be the next vice president. Before Mitt Romney picked him as his running mate, Ryan had spent 14 years in the House. His recent tenure as chairman of the House Budget Committee brought him widespread attention. He has proposed fiscal policy changes meant to curtail federal spending, including overhauling programs such as Medicare.
She became the first Latina governor in U.S. history when she was elected in New Mexico in 2010. Now 53, she had been a district attorney for 14 years before her bid for state office. Martinez has pushed for spending cuts and lower taxes as well as changes in education modeled after some of the reforms put in place by former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.
The former federal judge and Nevada attorney general was elected governor in 2010. Sandoval, 49, has vowed to help revive Nevada's economy. He succeeded in getting his state to pass legislation to shake up the education system, including making it easier to fire poor-performing teachers.
He was elected Wisconsin governor in 2010. The former Milwaukee County executive, 44, became nationally known after engaging in a bruising battle with organized labor over collective bargaining rights. Walker became the target of a recall effort, but he won the recall in June by 7 percentage points.