By: Emma Shinn
The bid for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination began early last year, with 19 candidates declaring their intention to run overall. By the time the primaries and caucuses had begun this month, seven candidates had already dropped out of the race for various reasons, ranging from pursuing movie careers to running damage control over sexual harassment lawsuits.
The first vote of the primary season took place at the Iowa caucus January 3. The top three winners there were reported originally as being Ron Paul in third, Rick Santorum second, and Mitt Romney as the winner by 8 votes. The rest of the field shook out to Newt Gingrich, Rick Perry, Michele Bachmann, and Jon Huntsman in fourth through seventh, respectively. As a result of her poor showing in the caucus, Bachmann announced the end of her campaign the next day. After enjoying the push from his narrow victory for a few weeks, Romney was knocked down a few pegs when it was announced that, after a re-count, Rick Santorum had actually won by about 34 votes.
After Iowa, it was off to New England for the New Hampshire primary January 10. Here, Mitt Romney was the unquestionable winner by almost 4,000 votes. He was followed by Ron Paul, Jon Huntsman, Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, and Rick Perry. When early polling for the South Carolina primary began, Jon Huntsman found himself polling dead last yet again, and resigned his candidacy. He announced afterwards that he would be putting his support behind Romney. Meanwhile, after finishing last, Perry made good on a previously hinted-at withdrawal, and officially declared that he was out of the race January 19.
The next primary vote came in South Carolina January 21. This time, Newt Gingrich was declared the winner by over 1,000 votes over second place Mitt Romney. Rick Santorum and Ron Paul came in third and fourth, respectively. As of publication, there have been no more drop-outs in the race thus far. The next vote will be the upcoming Florida primary January 31.