2012 GOP Frontrunners (as of December 2010): Romney, Palin and Huckabee: image: freedomslighthouse.net
As 2011 is upon the political horizon, the year that those who will run for the office of the President of the United States are either in the process of, or have already made a commitment to run in the GOP 2012 primary. A great deal of speculation has taken place; it seems as if the question of who would run began to take shape as soon as the current occupant at Pennsylvania Avenue was sworn into office.
Every news outlet has its opinion on who is in the “pack” of potential candidates, a selection of network news, online blog, a news magazine and a national newspaper were chosen for this overview to show how the speculation differs, or remains the same, depending upon the medium.
According to ABC News the list of primary contenders includes: Frontrunners: Mitt Romney, Sarah Palin and Mike Huckabee, they list “Chief Challengers”; Newt Gingrich, Tim Pawlenty, Mitch Daniels, Haley Barbour and John Thune. The last category “Wild Cards” includes Mike Pence, Ron Paul, George Pataki, Rick Santorum and John Bolton. One of the “Wild Cards” is now considering a run for Governor of Indiana, that would be Congressman Mike Pence.
(The Wall Street Journal analysis of Pence as a potential candidate follows the logic of one who has built “stature” within the GOP.)
The conservative National Review online offer no less than 24 possible candidates:
Sarah Palin, Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, John Thune, Tim Pawlenty, Mitch Daniels, Mike Pence, Rick Santorum, Haley Barbour, Mike Huckabee, Bobby Jindal, Paul Ryan, David Petraeus, Ron Paul, Jeb Bush, John Bolton, Bob McDonnell, Jim DeMint, Chris Christie, Herman Cain, Gary Johnson, Judd Gregg, Marco Rubio, and Rick Perry.
The author, Jonah Goldberg, goes on to narrow the field to eleven, “Romney, Gingrich, Palin, Pawlenty, Santorum, Bolton, Daniels, Cain, Johnson, Paul, and Thune.” He further eliminates those who might not have the traction during the primary contest to make the authors top five: “Romney, Palin, Gingrich, Pawlenty, and Daniels”. His reasoning for eliminating Mike Huckabee, generally considered to be the top if not tied at the top contender in all polls: : “there’s growing buzz that Huckabee, the former Arkansas governor and a fierce defender of his top-tier contender status, may not run because he’s got a big new contract with Fox News in the works.”
Finally, USA Today follows the money to bring the top five potential GOP frontrunners to the table. vis a vis, money raised through individual PAC’s (Political Action Committees). USA Today employed CQ MoneyLine and the Federal Election Commission data to reach the following Conclusions as to which of the above mentioned (in all articles) will likely rise to the occasion based on the dollar amounts raised by their respective PAC’s as well as monies donated by those PAC’s to GOP candidates and committees. The amounts are based on the 2009-2010 filing/election cycle.
*Haley Barbour (Governor, MS), Haley’s PAC, $1.1 million, disbursed $233,590 to GOP
*Mike Huckabee (Former Governor of Arkansas), HuckPAC, $1.8 million, disbursed $137,500
*Newt Gingrich (Former House Speaker), American Solutions PAC, $705,279, disbursed: $224,750
*Sarah Palin, (Former Governor of Alaska), SaraPAC, $5.4 Million, disbursed $516,500
*Tim Pawlenty (Minnesota Governor), Freedom First PAC, $3.3 Million, disbursed: $214,111
*Mitt Romney (Former Governor Massachusetts) Free and Strong American PAC, $7.4 Million, disbursed $827,708.
Therefore, if one “follows the money”, and granted these are PAC’s not campaign contributions generated by the individual candidate, however, for the sake of speculation, this scenario places the contenders in the following order: Mitt Romney, Sarah Palin, Tim Pawlenty, Mike Huckabee, Haley Barbour and Newt Gingrich. The political capital gained by disbursing funds will also come into play, however, of note: Mike Pence, who is missing from this list, crisscrossed Indiana this year in support of local Republicans, contributing over $84,000 to their campaigns and attending 30 events for state legislative candidates. (Wall Street Journal),. The aforementioned goes to intent as to the office of the Governor rather than that of President.
That said, one must recall the battle of Iowa in 2008, where one Mike Huckabee, with an estimated $80,000 dollars, outspent by Mitt Romney who invested millions, and won the day. It is, therefore, a necessary combination of willingness to take the heat, the ability to inspire a true grass roots following, and the ability to raise enough money to run a successful campaign through the primary to gain the nomination. In that case, Grass Roots would go to both Palin and Huckabee, Palin also will score higher on fundraising, while, Mitt Romney’s strength is in cash alone. (Of course, all analysis is based on the assumption that the aforementioned will run at all, and will end up being in the position of front runner).
Furthermore, should this scenario unfold as likely,(with the three most visible GOP contenders as of this moment), one must look to the obvious: which one of these three would be able to hold enough states necessary to win the primary and then go onto hold those states to win a general election. Romney has proved that he can hold the Northeast (coast), the West (coast), the northern states (MI, WY, UT), but fails in the Midwest and the South. Huckabee, on the other hand, may have trouble in the Northeast (specifically more liberal states and states that Romney calls home), but can handle the South and the Midwest. In looking at states where Huckabee and McCain competed in the 2008 primary, the point differential was minor between the two candidates, and with Romney in the mix, he was normally third. Palin, who is, like the current occupant of the White House, more controversial, yet appealing to the same conservative base as Mike Huckabee, should do well in those very same states.
Should these three be locked in a battle, it would, in this opinion, boil down to two candidates Mike Huckabee and Sarah Palin. That is if Huckabee, will, as some sources in Arkansas have already indicated, run in 2012.
Of note: both Palin and Huckabee have used the media (specifically Fox and other outlets) in order to maintain a national spotlight.
An excellent bio of all ABC’s potential candidates is available with the article abcnews.co.com/Politics/2012-republican-presidential-candidates-abc-news-guidebook/story