Editors’ Note: The Rankings will be updated twice a month, once in this brief format listing the top-tier candidates, and once in a full tip sheet format listing all major declared candidates.

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

Mitt
Romney

After trailing Perry since August 24th, Romney has finally inched back into the lead, both in the national polling averages and where it matters most: The 2012 Power Rankings. While his campaign might not have the passion of a teenage romance, he’s quietly become the old pair of horsehide gloves — well-worn, broken-in and very familiar. With Iowa less than 90 days away, Romney looks content to run the rail at the same speed from start-to-finish and let the horse chips fall where they may.

2 Herman
Cain

The “Pay as you Go!” conservative breeders of the GOP finally have a candidate to bet the farm on. The latest not-Romney firebrand, Herman “999” Cain is believed by some to be one who could just cut the federal budget down from deep dish to thin and crispy. As the only other non-career politician in the race, he does not have previous votes or policies to run from. However, he also lacks the political network of friends in low places to keep his war chest full.

Rick
Perry

Perry’s staff could see huge bonuses after a fantastic fundraising quarter. The bad news is that Perry’s staff might see huge bonuses once this horse is put out to pasture. There’s still some time for Perry to find a path to the nomination that avoids a Fred Thompson-style meltdown, but at his pace he could run out of track long before Iowa. No matter what, the two men are likely to share at least one attribute. It’s their love of acting on television: Thompson as a District Attorney; Perry as a conservative.

Ron
Paul
Paul is, without a doubt, the most consistent horse in the 2012 race. One year ago, Paul averaged 7.7 in the national polls. Today, after a year of campaigning, fundraising and winning straw polls, he averages 8.0. Perhaps most impressively, his positions are unchanged since he first debated them with Susan B. Anthony.

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