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Romney, Perry Take Center Stage In GOP Race

September 3, 2011

If it feels like it was just yesterday when you watched President Obama take his oath of office; you’re not alone.  The candidates, media outlets and political junkies have wasted no time in jump-starting the 2012 presidential race that promises to leave stragglers behind.  As President Obama approaches the end of his third year in office, voters will soon be analyzing his track record against those belonging to an increasingly dynamic field of republican presidential candidates.  GOP (republican) presidential hopefuls aim to take full advantage of an increasingly frustrated electorate and bleak economic outlook.  The President and fellow democrats will be looking to reconnect with the voters of the ’08 election, who were clearly dissatisfied with the previous republican administration.  Here is a quick look at how the GOP presidential field is shaping up:

Without a doubt, the most significant development to date was the August 13th announcement by Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX) that he would be joining an already crowded field of GOP challengers.  Perry, whose announcement immediately propelled him to the top of the national polls, has seized the attention of liberals and conservatives alike.  The Texas Governor, a social and fiscal conservative, has been gaining steam at the expense of his challengers.  Specifically, upon rumors of his plans to run for office, most of Newt Gingrich’s staff defected to the Perry Campaign.  In addition, Gov. Tim Pawlenty folded up his campaign the same day that Perry announced his candidacy.  Additionally, Rep. Bachmann’s falling poll numbers since Perry’s arrival has forced an internal shakeup of her political staff. 

Gov. Perry will be banking on his resume to speak for itself: A 3-term gubernatorial winner in a state that, since June ’09, has created a whopping 237,000 jobs; roughly half of all jobs created nationally during Obama’s administration.  Democrats have countered that many of those jobs pay very low wages, and that the former democrat-turned-republican Governor owes his success, in part, to the Recovery and Reinvestment Act introduced by the President.  As of September 4th, Gov. Perry enjoys a double-digit lead over all other GOP challengers, according to Real Clear Politics.  Perry, 61, is a graduate of Texas A&M and veteran pilot of the Air Force.

No campaign was more shaken by the arrival of Gov. Perry than that of the former Massachusetts governor and ’08 presidential candidate, Mitt Romney. Since his loss to Sen. John McCain in the GOP primary of ’08, Romney has been considered the unofficial favorite to challenge President Obama in ’12.  Romney was governor of Massachusetts from ’03-’07.  Gov. Romney is well known for the co-founding of the lucrative investment firm, Bain Capital, as well being credited for his high-profile rehabilitation of the failing 2002 Winter Olympic Games, of which he personally contributed $1 million. 

Conservatives widely view Romney as a more “moderate” candidate amongst the field of challengers.  As the candidates’ rhetoric increases against Obama’s new health care plan, Romney remains vulnerable after the passage of a state-run health care plan in MA during his tenure, now affectionately referred to as “Obamney Care.”  Romney, 64, hails from Detroit and holds a BA from BYU and a JD/MBA from Harvard University.

While Romney and Perry dominate the scene as of late, other GOP hopefuls refuse to be ignored.  These “toss-ups” include: Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN), winner of the recent Iowa Straw Poll, Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX), who narrowly lost in Iowa to Bachmann and who commands a devoutly loyal libertarian fan base, and Gov. Sarah Palin, who continues to flirt with the idea of a presidential run.