The race for the Republican presidential nomination took another turn on Monday as former House Speaker Newt Gingrich joined the race. Gingrich, along with a host of other candidates and potential candidates, certainly brings experience and gravitas to the field, but no one can be labeled the frontrunner. It’s still quite early, but grassroots conservatives are already asking the all-important question: who can beat Barack Obama?

As reported in the Associated Press story on GOPUSA, “Gingrich’s announcement, made on social networking websites Monday, came after months of public flirting with a bid.”

The former Georgia congressman, well-known to most Republicans, brings to the race a years-in-the-making political machine with ties to early nominating states as well as a network of supporters and donors. But his personal baggage — he’s acknowledged marital infidelity and has had two divorces — could hinder his chances of winning the party’s presidential nomination more than a decade after leaving the House.

Assuming that Gingrich does stick it out, who will step up to take him on? The recent GOP presidential debate which was hosted by Fox News featured the following candidates:

Herman Cain — Cain is the former chief executive of Godfather’s Pizza and former chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City. He lost the Georgia Republican primary for a U.S. Senate seat in 2004. He was recently the host of Atlanta-based radio show.

Gary Johnson — Johnson served as governor of New Mexico from 1995 to 2002. He founded what would become one of the largest construction companies in New Mexico. He has competed in several triathlons and climbed Mount Everest.

Ron Paul — Paul is serving his 11th full term in the U.S. House. He’s an obstetrician-gynecologist and was the Libertarian nominee for president in 1988. He unsuccessfully sought the Republican nomination for president in 2008.

Tim Pawlenty — Pawlenty served two terms as governor of Minnesota, from 2002 to 2010. He served in the Minnesota House from 1992 until 2002. He is the son of a truck driver.

Rick Santorum — Santorum served two terms in the U.S. House and two terms in the U.S. Senate. He became the Senate’s third-ranking Republican in 2001. He was defeated for reelection in 2006.

But that’s not all. Missing from the debate were former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, and former vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin. Oh, and then there’s the Donald. But that’s not all. We could also see Rep. Michele Bachmann (a tea party favorite) or Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels join the race.

What are the polls saying now? Most show Romney as the leader, followed by Huckabee, but no one is blowing the field away. In the latest CNN/Opinion Research Poll Huckabee garnered 16% to Trump’s 14% to Romney’s 13%. A poll conducted by Quinnipiac University shows Romney in the lead with 18% followed by Huckabee and Palin with 15%. And here’s one to really get people scratching their heads… A Rasmussen Reports poll conducted just a few weeks ago shows Donald Trump leading the field with 19%. Trump is followed by Romney with 17% and Huckabee with 15%.

So who is your pick? Is it the lightning rod of 2008, Sarah Palin? Maybe it’s Gingrich? Although known to conservatives for some time, nationally unknown Herman Cain received very good reviews from his performance in the Fox News debate. Maybe it could be him?

As everyone knows, it’s so early that it’s impossible to tell who the GOP nominee will be at this time. What is important is that whomever the nominee is, that person MUST recognize that politics has shifted in America. The American people, through the work of the tea party movement, are no longer accepting business as usual. They want smaller government, less spending, a reduction to the debt, accountability, and leadership. Which candidate will deliver?


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