Absent Republicans bring race to life

Withdrawals by Palin and Christie give frontrunners new problems

The decisions by Sarah Palin and Chris Christie to sit out the 2012 presidential race left Republicans yesterday mulling whether to support either of the frontrunners, Mitt Romney and Rick Perry, or to switch their votes to the businessman and commentator Herman Cain.

A CBS poll this week confirmed Mr Cain was in a tie for first place with Mr Romney, ahead of Mr Perry, the Texas governor, whose campaign has stumbled. They were followed by the former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, the Kentucky Congressman Ron Paul and Michele Bachmann, of the Tea Party, who is backed by only 4 per cent of Republicans. The rise of Mr Cain is the latest sign of the restless mood of a party still unable to take Mr Romney to its heart and worried that Mr Perry may not be prepared for the rigours of the campaign trail, its supporters say.

"Cain basically is the 'none-of-the-above' candidate," one party strategist said. The large proportion of those unstill decided – 18 percent, according to the CBS poll – makes a similar point.

Nowhere is that uncertainty greater than among ultra-conservative Tea Party activists, who rallied behind Ms Bachmann, then Mr Perry, and who would probably have flocked to Ms Palin had she taken the plunge.

Now they are taking a closer look at Mr Cain.

"He's a straight talker, with business experience, and has a lot of momentum and is one to watch," said Amy Kremer, a Tea Party spokeswoman. But she stressed that the field was very volatile and said that the party was "not endorsing any candidate at this point".

However, Mr Perry and Mr Romney remain the candidates with the most money, best support networks and widest national reach.

After his recent troubles, stoked by controversy over his stand on immigration and a dismal showing in the most recent debate between candidates, Mr Perry yesterday received a much-needed boost, with figures emerging that showed he had raised $17m of funds in the third quarter, outstripping his rivals. Mr Romney was expected to collect at most $13m over the same period.

If Mr Perry stands to benefit from the fact that Ms Palin has not thrown her hat into the ring, the absence of Mr Christie, the New Jersey governor, from the race should help Mr Romney.

The latter now has no obvious rival for the favours of the traditional Republican east coast establishment, a reduced, but still important, constituency within the party. As pressure on Mr Christie to run grew last month, many top Republican donors, especially those on Wall Street, refused to commit themselves. But with the New Jersey governor definitely out of the race, they are expected to back Mr Romney, boosting his efforts to raise campaign funds.

But time is running short. Following Florida's decision to move up its primary to January 31, the four states that always go first – Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada –are also expected to move their votes forward. The Iowa caucuses that kick off the primaries could be held as early as 2 January, less than three months away, or even in late December.

That also puts a premium on organisation, which should favour Mr Romney as he has been preparing for 2012 from the moment he lost the 2008 nomination battle to John McCain.

Palin's progress

11 September, 2010 "Evidently, I'm supposed to make a big announcement here, Glenn and I together, make some big announcement, maybe about the 2012 election or something." Addressing a rally with conservative firebrand Glenn Beck

12 January, 2011 "Within hours of a tragedy unfolding, journalists and pundits should not manufacture a blood libel that serves only to incite the very hatred and violence that they purport to condemn. That is reprehensible." Palin responds in a damaging row over whether confrontational politics contributed to the shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords

3 September, 2011 "Polls? Nah... They're for strippers and cross-country skiers," she said as the latest surveys showed her lagging well behind the leading candidates in the race for the Republican nomination

5 October, 2011 "As always, my family comes first and obviously Todd and I put great consideration into family life before making this decision. When we serve, we devote ourselves to god, family and country. My decision maintains this order."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Life and Style
life
News
news

The party's potential nominations read like a high school race for student body president

Voices
A mother and her child
voices
Voices
The veterans Mark Hayward, Hugh Thompson and Sean Staines (back) with Grayson Perry (front left) and Evgeny Lebedev
charity appealMaverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Arts and Entertainment
Cold case: Aaron McCusker and Christopher Eccleston in ‘Fortitude’
tvReview: Sky Atlantic's ambitious new series Fortitude has begun with a feature-length special
Voices
Three people wearing masks depicting Ed Miliband, David Cameron and Nick Clegg
voicesPolitics is in the gutter – but there is an alternative, says Nigel Farage
News
i100
News
people
Sport
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho
footballI have never seen the point of lambasting the fourth official, writes Paul Scholes
Life and Style
Vote green: Benoit Berenger at The Duke of Cambridge in London's Islington
food + drinkBanishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turn over a new leaf
News
Joel Grey (left) poses next to a poster featuring his character in the film
peopleActor Joel Grey comes out at 82
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Production Operative - Unskilled & Skilled

£7 - £9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity has arisen to jo...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager - Law Firm - Bromley

£45000 - £50000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (Market...

Recruitment Genius: Kitchen Fitter / Kitchen Fitters Mate

£18000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This designer and manufacturer ...

Tradewind Recruitment: Science Teacher

£90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: I am currently working in partnersh...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee