Key Republicans in the Invisible Primaries
Gary Johnson and Buddy Roemer – Both former Governors were left out of the early debates leading to complaints of bias. They both withdrew to seek nomination from the Libertarian and Reform Party respectively. Mitt Romney – Also ran in the 2008 primaries, was an early frontrunner. He maintained a careful, strategic campaign that centred on being an establishment candidate. In the summer of 2011 he had a lead in polls with the support of much of the Republican electorate. Ron Paul – Also ran in the 2008 primaries, was a string candidate. Michele Bachmann – A First congresswoman started her campaign in June and surged in the polls after winning the Ames Straw Poll in August. Rick Perry – Texas Governor, shortly after he was drafted by strong national Republican support. He performed strongly in polls, immediately becoming a serious contender. But he lost the momentum following poor performances in the September debates. Herman Cain – Surged after the sixth debate on September 22. In November Cain's viability as a candidate was seriously jeopardized after several allegations of sexual harassment surfaced in the media, and he suspended his campaign on December 3, 2011, despite his unyielding denials of any misconduct. Newt Gingrich – The Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich asserted himself as the fourth leading opponent to Romney. It was a comeback for Gingrich after his campaign had suffered under serious staff problems just weeks after he had entered the race in May. But in the few weeks before the Iowa caucus, Gingrich's lead quickly began to evaporate. Iowans were bombarded with over $4.4 million in negative advertising on Gingrich from super PACs sympathetic to Mitt Romney and others.
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