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
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
News
peopleMathematician John Nash inspired the film Beautiful Mind
News
Richard Blair is concerned the trenches are falling into disrepair
newsGeorge Orwell's son wants to save war site that inspired book
Life and Style
Audrey Hepburn with Hubert De Givenchy, whose well-cut black tuxedo is a 'timeless look'
fashionIt may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
Arts and Entertainment
The pair in their heyday in 1967
music
Life and Style
fashionFrom bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
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

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Guru Careers: Software Developer

£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant / Resourcer

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...

Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, AngularJS)

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, JavaScript, HTML...

Day In a Page

Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine