Welcome to the latest edition of PoliticalDerby.com's 2012 Power Rankings, the original tracking service of the race for the White House. The rankings are updated as circumstances warrant and are compiled by our Editors using wire reports, polls, campaign staffer scuttlebutt and confidential tips. The rankings may not be reprinted or quoted in any form without attribution to PoliticalDerby.com.

The GOP Horses
Power Ranking The Horse Momentum The Tip Sheet
1

Sarah
Palin

When in history has a losing Vice Presidential candidate done more interviews during the 60 days after an election than during the 60 days prior to the election? She’s the only woman on TV more than Heidi Montag. While she’s not exactly running away from the other 2012 contenders, she’s still the frontrunner by default. So until someone else comes along who can field dress a moose in shorter time, with a wink to boot, the current Governor of Alaska maintains the lead.

Mitt
Romney

Politics is all about branding and Romney still has an image problem. Is he a Genuine Conservative and Economic Genius or just a Political Opportunist? Because fair or not, his 2008 opponents very successfully sewed ‘flip-flopper’ labels in all those crisp white shirts. The bad news? If he has to readdress all over again the questions of his ‘evolving’ positions, he’ll never run past the first straw poll. The good news? Between now and the next Republican National Convention, he could have enough grandchildren to secure the nomination on a simple floor vote.

3

Mike
Huckabee

Anyone who thinks Huckabee signaled disinterest in 2012 by launching his FoxNews show needs to watch his recent interview with Ann Coulter. Huckabee put on a vigorous, passionate defense of his conservative DNA more convincing than anything seen during campaign ’08. Watch for Huck to position himself as a vocal opponent of Obama on social issues, particularly abortion. And use Sharpie on your January 2012 calendar, you’re guaranteed to see Huckabee in Iowa and New Hampshire.

4 Mark
Sanford
Sanford, the new Republican Governor’s Association Chairman, has the southern charm and accent that would make for a stark comparison to the Hollywood glitz of Obama. He also has most of what Governor Palin offers. He’s a grassroots darling, he’s bucked his own party over principle, and has solid conservative credentials across the board. What he doesn’t have is a view of Russia from his front porch.
5 Tim
Pawlenty
Pawlenty supplants Governor Bobby Jindal in the 5 spot. It’s difficult to imagine Pawlenty on a debate stage next to BO, but Pawlenty does have a taste for the attack and might make for a suitable Dole — err, sacrificial lamb — if BO’s reelection seems assured. Who knows, if Minnesota can send Stuart Smalley to Washington, surely they can send an actual human.

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