GOP Presidential Power Rankings

The race for the GOP nomination for president has really heated up, but there are rumblings that Rep. Paul Ryan and Sarah Palin may be preparing to jump in, candidacies that would dramatically shake up the field. But at least right now, it seems like this is a three way race for the nomination between Mitt Romney, Rick Perry and Michele Bachmann. Polls seem to bear out that conclusion as well, though no one seems to really be the frontrunner.

Here is a look at the current power rankings in the GOP field (and yes, we’ve excluded Thad McCotter on purpose):

Mitt Romney (down): If there was ever a question that Romney was on shaky ground as the frontrunner in the GOP field, it has been answered with Rick Perry. That being said, only one poll shows Romney down to Perry; so it’s far too early to say that that Romney has no path to the nomination. Romney still has plenty of arguments for Republicans to get behind him, including that he is the only candidate in the field that really challenges President Obama. However, the worst thing that could happen to Romney would be a Paul Ryan candidacy.

Rick Perry (up): Conservatives may well have found their candidate. Perry has been the focus of just about everyone following national politics. Some in the media are already trying to downplay job creation during his administration in Texas, but the data speaks for itself. There are definitely some good aspects to what a Perry Administration would mean from a libertarian perspective, but some bad ones as well; including opening up the legislative battle over the Federal Marriage Amendment. However, electability questions remain. The negative of the past week was his off-the-cuff remark about Ben Bernanke and the Fed’s monetary policy. Gaffes like that need to be limited for him to gain credibility among big money GOP donors. For now at least, Perry is stuck at #2 in our power rankings.

Michele Bachmann (down): Her win in the Iowa Straw Poll seems to be of little concern to observers. Not many are taking Bachmann as a serious contender for the Republican nomination at this point given that Perry has finally gotten in the race.

Ron Paul (up): A birthday money bomb over the weekend for Ron Paul brought it over $1.7 million and he was able to attract some attention from Jon Stewart, who hilariously mocked the media for ignoring his candidacy. Polls consistantly show Paul among the top four GOP candidates, ranging anywhere from 6% to 14%; including a couple where he polled higher than Bachmann.

Newt Gingrich: (even): Gingrich stopped by the Heritage Foundation last week to discuss policy, specifically the “Super Congress” created as part of the debt ceiling deal. He’ll also take a trip to Hawaii this week to celebrate his wedding anniversary. Even though he’ll be doing events while he’s there, it’s likely to bring more questions about the seriousness of his bid for the nomination (remember, his vacation earlier this year led to an exodus of his campaign staff).

Rick Santorum (even): Despite his fourth place finish in Iowa, it was a relatively quiet week for Santorum. He did claim that he was the most qualified candidate in the race to take on entitlements (wait, didn’t he vote for Medicare Part D?) Dave Weigel likens Santorum to Mike Huckabee in that he’s probably doing himself some financial good by raising his profile. But Santorum won’t have the impact on the race that Tax Hike Mike did in 2008.

Herman Cain (even): Janeane Garofalo provided Cain’s campaign with an opportunity to raise some cash when she alleged that he is being paid to be in the race to deflect charges of racism. Cain also tackled the question of whether or not Obama should be impeached. According to Politico, Cain said, “[I]t would be a great thing to do but because the Senate is controlled by Democrats we would never be able to get the Senate first to take up that action, because they simply don’t care what the American public thinks.” Cain said that Obama failing to enforce the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is an impeachable offense.

Jon Huntsman (down): While on This Week, Huntsman got a chance to knock around Perry and Bachmann on various issues, including the former’s comments on the Federal Reserve. He also tweeted this week that he believes in global warming and evolution. Like him or not, those are gutsy things to said in a Republican primary considering that the moderates he is going for don’t have much influence. However, Huntsman lost another staffer and he is being viewed as the next candidate to leave the race.

Gary Johnson (even): While the former two-term Governor has been marginalized, he’s still out there talking to voters. Johnson warned the other candidates that the economy, not social issues, is going to win the presidency. While on the stump, Johnson continues to tout himself as the free market candidate. He also recently endorsed the Fair Tax. Johnson recently told reporters at the National Press Club that he hopes for a good finish in New Hampshire, where Mitt Romney has staked his candidacy.

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