Starts: June 5, 2012
The 2012 Republican presidential primaries are the selection processes in which voters of the Republican Party will choose their nominee for President of the United States in the 2012 presidential election.
The primary contest began with a fairly wide field, and is the first presidential primary influenced by the Tea Party movement. Ron Paul, who had run in 2008 on a libertarian platform, experienced considerable support in his presidential campaign, and was welcomed by Republican voters as a mainstream candidate. Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, who also ran for president in 2008, took an early lead in polls with the support of much of the Republican establishment. However, his lead over the Republican field has been precarious, due to the entry of new candidates that drew considerable media attention between April and August 2011. Support amongst Republicans for Governor Rick Perry of Texas propelled him to join the race in August 2011; he performed strongly in polls, instantly becoming a serious contender. Following a series of poor performances in debates, Perry quickly lost his momentum to Herman Cain. Cain’s viability as a candidate was seriously jeopardized after a history of sexual harassment allegations surfaced in the media, with his campaign being suspended on December 3. Newt Gingrich, who stressed the need to beat incumbent President Barack Obama and avoid intra-party disputes, began making a comeback in November 2011, both in polls and fundraising.