Much has happened in the two months and change since my last rankings, but my Top 3 remains the same: Tim Pawlenty, Haley Barbour, and Mitt Romney.
I wrote at that time that I could only see realistic chances for five people -- those three, plus John Thune and Rick Perry. Thune has since opted out, and Perry has made very clear that he's not running.
In the new issue of the Boston Phoenix – in print tomorrow, online now – I provide my first in-print rankings of the 2012 GOP Presidential candidates’ chances. You can read that here: The GOP’s Top Dog? It’s T-Paw, Not Mitt.
But that only has room for the Top 10, and my blog readers know that I’ve been ranking the Top 25 for over two years now.
I've been doing these rankings for two years now, starting on the final day of 2008. Looking back at that first list, seemingly so early in the cycle for speculation, what's remarkable to me is how little things have changed since then.
Sure, a few have dropped off the list -- Mark Sanford, most notably, as well as his fellow adulterer John Ensign; also Kay Bailey Hutchison and Charlie Crist, both of whom got humiliatingly rejected by conservatives in their home states this year; and a few of my thinking-outside-the-box names like Bill Frist and Tom Ridge.
The other day I did my latest rankings of the most likely 2012 GOP Presidential nominees -- an exercise I've been doing roughly every two months since the end of 2008. Now some upstarts have decided to join me with their first rankings of the cycle: Chris "The Fix" Cillizza at WaPo, and the National Journal's Hotline. Also, there's been a fair amount of comment about such rankings.
Pop Quiz: What is Peter Bragdon's phone number?
Don't have it? Don't know who Peter Bragdon is? Guess you're not a Republican running for President.
Bragdon will be Senate President following the Republican takeover in New Hampshire this week. Bragdon also chaired the Republican Senate Majority Committee, which helped elect a stunning 19 GOP candidates to the 24 state senate seats.
With the completion of the 2010 primaries, and the latest 2012 meat-market (the Values Voters Conference), now's a good time to update my rankings of the 25 most likely 2012 Republican Presidential nominees!
Note that two of my dark horses, Mike Pence and Jim DeMint, have gotten big recent boosts. Pence won the VVC straw poll this weekend, and DeMint has emerged as the hero of what we might call the "Christine O'Donnell wing" of the party.
I've been getting poked and prodded by folks about my extreme lateness updating these rankings -- nice to know you care! Sorry for the lengthy delay. I've been a little busy, and these rankings require a huge investment of time and resources; there's a whole team that compiles research, and a devoted data center to run the complex algorithms.
I’ve been doing these rankings every two months
since right after the last Presidential election (here's the last one), and every two months I get a bunch of
messages about how Ron Paul is obviously going to win the GOP nomination, and
how I’m obviously an idiot or part of the vast anti-Paul conspiracy.
I expect those messages to increase in number and self-assurance now,
thanks to Paul’s
first-place finish in the Presidential Straw Poll at the Conservative Political
Action Conference (CPAC).
A couple of updates to my most recent rankings of the GOP's top contenders for the 2012 Presidential nomination:
--Mike Pence (#2) has declined to run for Senate against Evan Bayh, which to me suggests that the whole thing was a ploy to get more public attention among conservatives for his 2012 Presidential ambitions.
Since the start of 2009, I’ve been updating these rankings every two
months. (Most recently here.) I’m going to stick with that schedule for now --
but things are going to really start heating up. After all, we’re just a year
away from Romney, Pawlenty et al declaring their candidacies.
How can I know when they’ll declare? I’ll explain.