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


Sarah’s good summer could turn into a fantastic fall, depending on how Palin-backed candidates fair in the general elections. The most well-known is Delaware’s Christine O’Donnell, whose upset victory over the very popular Mike Castle was a jaw-dropper. The bad news for Palin? O’Donnell is down so far in the polls, she’s going to need the Chilean Phoenix capsule just to get even with opponent Chris Coons. Still, Sarah runs at the head of the track because of her endorsement record thus far, her national visibility, and her Tea Party cred.


Yah, yah. We know. He’s not conservative enough. He isn’t doing much to help the GOP with the mid-term elections. His real name is Willard. But Romney has history and money on his side. The history, of course, is the GOP rewarding the loyal and the money appears to never run dry for the generous self-funder. The speculation is that short of smarmy text messages, a steamy mistress in some steamier South American country, or having a “macaca moment”, Romney will be a sure-bet front-runner. Could it be Mitt is privately willing the economy in the toilet so he can flex those business muscles on the trail?

3 Mewt

Imagine a candidate with Newt’s brain and conservative credentials and Frankenstein that to Huckabee’s moral compass and aw-shucks appeal. Now you’ve got a candidate that might just be unbeatable. Unfortunately, there hasn’t been a good Frankenstein movie since Mel Brooks, and most Republicans would frown upon gene splicing and cloning, so we’re stuck with these two separately. Sure, Newt has made more passes at a campaign than Brett Favre has thrown at receivers or massage therapists, but this time he looks serious. Huck’s desire, considering the Fox News gig and his relocation to Florida, is less obvious. The latter is either a signal he’s out, or that he’s dusted off the old Rudy Giuliani “Florida first” play book.

4 Tim
Pawlenty has an excitement deficit and he knows it. It seems the guy is trying to top the John Edwards-held record for longest presidential campaign that nobody cares about. Recently his marketing team pitched him appearing with Elmo and Katy Perry’s chest on Sesame Street. Unfortunately, the appearance was cancelled when the Wasilla PTA cried that Katy’s cleavage was too much for children, and children’s advocacy groups were afraid that Pawlenty’s segment would spark a nationwide wave of narcolepsy among preschoolers.


A new darling among conservatives, Christie’s star has risen dramatically since he became governor of New Jersey and a budget hack’n’slash maniac. Christie’s tough talk and even tougher actions have gone over surprisingly well in the normally Democratic Garden State, where the big fella maintains an approval rating over 60%. Christie even made a recent visit to Iowa, which set off a wave of speculation that he may well be considering a run, something he denies almost as often as Snookie gets arrested.