The 2012 Presidential Election is shaping up to be very interesting, to say the least. The Democratic candidate has already been decided, but the race for the Republican candidate is definitely exciting enough for two. Here is a quick look at the men and woman who could be running the most powerful country in the world just over a year from now:
The current front-runner, Mitt Romney, is a former governor of Massachusetts who also ran in the 2008 primary, coming in second to John McCain. He is the most moderate of the major candidates, and he is often considered the only one who could beat Obama. He has been called boring, but in this crazy race, maybe boring is the best thing to be.
His closest rival is Newt Gingrich, a fairly controversial former Speaker of the House. He was leading the race at the beginning of December, but questions about allegations of corruption and unethical behavior during his time as Speaker have hindered his chances. Evangelical Christians tend to support Gingrich.
Former front-runner and butt-of-many-jokes Hermain Cain was forced to suspend his bid after four women accused him of sexual misconduct and one accused him of adultery. He was famous for his 9-9-9 tax plan, which vaulted him into the lead, and for his many public flubs. He once asked an interviewer what the American position on Libya was “to make sure [they were] talking about the same thing”.
Before him, Michelle Bachman, a former Congresswoman from Minnesota, led the race. She is an avid Tea Party supporter who helped to found the Tea Party caucus in the House of Representatives. She is the most right wing of the Republican candidates, and, at this point in the race, she has fallen off the leaders board.
Rick Perry, current governor of Texas, also seemed to be a major contender at one point, but has been heavily scrutinized for his hard-right views. His most recent ad, which criticizes the government for allowing gay men to serve openly in the military and removing Bible curriculum from schools, has become an Internet joke.
The other candidates are former Governor of Utah and Ambassador to China John Huntsman, former Governor of New Mexico Gary Johnson, Representative from Texas Ron Paul, and former Senator from Pennsylvania Rick Santorum. Former Governor of Minnesota Tim Pawlenty dropped out of the primary on August 14th.