What is most striking about this race, so far, is its comparative slowness. At this point in the 2008 cycle, 17 Democrats & Republicans had announced they were running or had set up exploratory committees. At this point, including the President, there are only four official candidates.
Here is a run-down of the likely/declared Republican candidates for President:
- Representative Michelle Bachmann (R-MN): A tea-party favorite, the controversial Congresswoman appears increasingly likely to run for President, having made multiple trips to early primary states. She has made multiple statements that she is likely to run for President, though she has also filed for reelection in her Congressional district.
- Governor Haley Barbour (R-MS): Governor Barbour is the former Chairman of the Republican National Committee and Governor of Mississippi. He is also a former lobbyist. He is a presumed candidate, though he has not officially announced yet.
- John Bolton: Former UN Ambassador under the George W. Bush administration. Bolton has made speeches to many speeches to national conservative groups and said that he is considering running.
- Herman Cain: Successful businessman and Navy vet. Cain is one of the few candidates to actually form an exploratory committee, essentially making him a declared candidate.
- Mitch Daniels (IN): Governor of Indiana. Daniels, however, has not declared his candidacy and has yet to say if he is even likely to run.
- Newt Gingrich (GA): Former Speaker of the House of Representatives and architect of the Republican Revolution of 1994. He sounds more and more like a Presidential candidate, though his political and personal baggage (two divorces) would present challenges to his candidacy.
- Mike Huckabee (AR): Former Governor of Arkansas, 2008 Presidential candidate and fox news contributor. He, too, has yet to say if he is likely to run.
- Sarah Palin (AK): Former Governor of Alaska and VP Candidate in 2008. Her status is very much unknown and she could dramatically shake up the field if she runs.
- Rand Paul (KY): Newly elected Senator from Kentucky who has made more and more noise about running for President. Has said he will not run if his father runs. Favorite of the Tea Party.
- Ron Paul (TX): Congressman with libertarian leanings who ran for President in 2008 - he garnered a large amount of grass-roots support but was never able to gain traction in election results.
- Tim Pawlenty (MN): Former Governor of Minnesota who has actually declared his candidacy by setting up an exploratory committee.
- Mitt Romney (MA): Successful businessman and former Governor of Massachusetts. Ran for President in 2008 and is the nominal front-runner. His entry to the race appears virtually guaranteed, though he has not declared his candidacy yet.
- Rick Santorum (PA): Former Pennsylvania Senator who appears more and more likely to run. Has been courting social conservatives and made multiple trips to early-primary states, particularly South Carolina.
- Donald Trump (NY): Billionaire businessman and television personality who has been making more and more comments about running.