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GOP field narrowing, but are candidates really gone?

20 January 2012

By Rachel Hartman, Political Courage Test Department 

One of the most interesting things about the fight for a party nomination is what happens when a candidate decides to no longer actively seek the nomination. Most Republican presidential candidates have spent massive amounts of time building a campaign, crafting their public persona, and raising huge amounts of money for a chance to take on President Obama in November. So, what can we expect from the presidential hopefuls who have finally decided to call it quits and bow out of the race?

Endorsements
After thanking donors and giving a cheery “we fought a good fight” speech at your press conference to announce the end of your campaign, the next step is usually to throw your support behind another candidate. Both Jon Huntsman and Rick Perry called on their supporters to regroup around other candidates while Michele Bachmann and Herman Cain opted out of making immediate endorsements.

Ballot Appearances 
In many states once a candidate has qualified to appear on the primary ballot, regardless of their current running status, they will continue to appear on ballots and could potentially receive votes. South Carolina provides a great example of this situation. The South Carolina Republican Presidential Preference Primary is scheduled for Saturday January, 21 and while in most of our minds there are only 4 candidates still vying for the GOP nomination, one look at the ballot will tell a slightly different story. 

According to the South Carolina elections fact page, none of the nine certified candidates have officially withdrawn from the Presidential Primary and all nine will appear on the primary ballot this Saturday. Even if any of the candidates had officially withdrawn, doing so this late in the game wouldn't remove their names from the ballot. As voters prepare to head to the polls in the next primary states of Florida, Missouri, and Arizona for their chance at picking the GOP nominee anticipate that ballots will still include a full slate of options. The nine candidates who have been making headlines this election season aren't the only ones with presidential aspirations. For information on all the candidates running for president please check out our candidate information.

Vice Presidential Nomination and Cabinet Positions
The 2008 primary battle between Barack Obama and Hilary Clinton was long and at times heated, but once Clinton formally ended her campaign she wasn't out of the political spotlight. Once in office, President Obama selected Hilary Clinton as Secretary of State for his administration. As the 2012 GOP field continues to narrow there is a chance that some former candidates may make a renewed appearance as a running mate or could be on the list for a cabinet position later down the road (should the Republican nominee defeat President Obama in November). 

While a presidential bid in 2012 may be over for a handful of candidates, the chapter on the 2012 presidential election is still far from over, with a strong possibility these former candidates will continue making headlines as the race rolls on. In fact, gubernatorial and congressional campaigns might be in the future for some. Speaking tours, books, and possible radio/television shows could be the next career move for others. Regardless of the next major news, we're ready for whatever curve-balls this election year throws our way, so stay tuned! 

Project Vote Smart has been made possible by over 100,000 liberal and conservative fellow citizens. No funds are accepted from lobbyists, corporations, unions or others that support or oppose candidates. As a volunteer-based organization, Vote Smart will survive on individual small contributions or not at all. Find out more on how you can become a Vote Smart Member today.  
 

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