With real estate magnate Donald Trump and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee no longer placing themselves in the running for the U.S. presidency, the role of GOP frontrunner seems to be left up for grabs.
In early April, Trump and Huckabee led the 2012 Republican field with 19 percent support apiece, according to a CNN/Opinion Research poll that surveyed Republican voters nationwide. Sarah Palin took third place with 12 percent, and Mitt Romney was tied in fourth place with Newt Gingrich, both garnering 11 percent of the votes.
But the thing is this: Only two of the five people in the top bracket are running for the presidency - Romney and Gingrich.
So, who do the Republicans, social conservatives, evangelicals, birthers, tea partiers, etc. - essentially, the ones who had already thrown their support to Trump and/or Huckabee - choose?
It's like 52-card pickup, Mark McKinnon, a strategist for former president George W. Bush told USA Today. Huckabee's decision totally reshapes the race.
For Ed Rollins, the veteran Republican strategist who was chairman of Huckabee's 2008 campaign, It's Romney vs. the field.
There's usually a front-runner and a chaser. We have no idea who the chaser is going to be, Rollins said, according to USA Today.
The Republican roster is as notable for those who have decided against running as for those who have decided to take the plunge.
Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, Indiana Rep. Mike Pence and South Dakota Sen. John Thune have opted out. Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels vows a decision is near and former Alaska governor Sarah Palin has yet to make her motive known.
All told, the Republican field encompasses about a dozen hopefuls who have declared their intentions or are preparing to. Among them are Minnesota representative Michele Bachmann, a contender, some say, to inherit Huckabee's religious voters; former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum, the possible beneficiary of the social conservative votes Huckabee would have taken; former ambassador to China Jon Huntsman; and Romney, the former Massachusetts governor.
Newt Gingrich, who announced his campaign last week, will indubitably have to deal with copious questions surrounding his personal life, in particular his two failed marriages and his history of infidelity - though he begs possible supporters to look at who I am today.
And, well, there is always Ron Paul, the libertarian with a devoted fan base.