A highlight of the annual Conservative Political Action Conference is its straw poll of potential 2012 GOP presidential contenders. Though it's an unofficial poll, a win can give future presidential aspirants a boost. John McCain came in second in the 2008 straw poll to Mitt Romney -- the margin was just one point. Romney won again last year.
This year 11 Republicans are included on the ballot. Even if you can't be at CPAC, you still get a vote. Tell us who you think will be the 2012 GOP presidential nominee.
Mike Huckabee, former Governor of Arkansas. A baptist minister and host of Fox News's "Huckabee," he came up short to John McCain in the 2008 Republican presidential primary.
Haley Barbour, Governor of Mississippi. A former lobbyist and lawyer, Barbour was elected chairman of the RNC in 1993, and guided the GOP to victory in the 1994 midterm elections, marking the first time the Republicans controlled the House in 40 years.
Mitch Daniels, Governor of Indiana. Daniels began his political career with then mayor of Indianapolis, Richard Lugar in 1971. He then followed Lugar to DC, serving as the senator's chief of staff. After working for Eli Lily through much of the 1990s, he served various roles in President Bush's administration before being elected governor in 2004.
Newt Gingrich, former Speaker of the House of Representatives. A longtime Georgian representative, Gingrich was most famous for leading the "Gingrich revolution," a sweeping Republican victory in the 1994 midterm elections. He is currently a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and declined to run for president in 1998.
Sarah Palin, former Governor of Alaska and former vice presidential candidate. Palin rocketed onto the public stage in 2008 as John McCain's running mate and has not disappeared from the spotlight since, attracting seemingly non-stop media attention.
Ron Paul, Representative from Texas. A self-described libertarian, Paul became a dark horse candidate in the 2008 Republican primary by raising large sums of grassroots money.
Tim Pawlenty, Governor of Minnesota. Elected in 2002, Pawlenty replaced former Gov. Jesse Ventura, and was re-elected in 2006. He has said that he will not seek a third term, fueling claims that he will run for president in 2012. He was rumored to have been in the running for the Vice Presidential ticket in 2008, which eventually went to Sarah Palin.
Mike Pence, Republican congressman from Indiana. After a losing bid to John Boehner to become House minority leader, he was elected Republican Conference Chairman, the third-highest ranking Republican leadership position in the House.
Mitt Romney, former Governor of Massachusetts. After serving as CEO of the 2002 Winter Olympic Games, Romney was elected governor of Mass. that November. In 2008, he led John McCain early in the primary season, but suspended his campaign after a disastrous Super Tuesday. Overall, he won primaries in 11 states, and 291 delegates.
Rick Santorum, former Senator from Pennsylvania. After serving in the House of Representatives for two terms, Santorum was elected to the Senate during the 1994 Republican revolution. He served two terms, but lost in 2006. He was noted for a strong conservative track record, opposing gay marriage, abortion and evolution.
Jon Thune, Senator from South Dakota. Thune was elected to the House of Representatives in 1996. After unsuccessfully challenging Tim Johnson in 2002, he defeated then-Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle.
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