In 2012, GOP candidates have soared, failed and fallen from favor faster than ever before. From Michele Bachmann to Herman Cain to Rick Santorum, it seems every candidate has embraced the title of GOP front runner at one point or another since the beginning of the campaign cycle. Pundits have speculated that Mitt Romney will eventually earn the nomination, but the volatility of the 2012 GOP race points to one other possibility, no matter how small it may be; The eventual GOP nominee hasn't entered the field yet.
"It's a pundits' pipe dream, but it's as likely as it's ever been," says Larry Sabato, the director of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia. [Romney Losing Support Among Independents.]
There are, of course, obstacles to jumping into the fray this late in the campaign. Among them, the fact that candidates have already collected a fraction of the 1,144 delegates from Florida, New Hampshire and South Carolina that are necessary to win the GOP nomination.
Even with some delegates allocated, there is still a long ways to go before any one candidate becomes the clear nominee.
And with the Supreme Court's Citizens United ruling, Sabato says money's no longer a major deterrent for candidates wanting to enter the race late. [At CPAC, It's Rick vs. Mitt.]
"Super PACs makes it so that you can do it," he says "You only need one or two financial angels.".
Sabato speculates many GOP insiders are still putting pressure on Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, who still hasn't endorsed a GOP candidate, to get in the race.
Strategists also say Mike Huckabee, Chris Christie, Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan and Florida Gov. Jeb Bush should get in the race.
"This year, nothing is off the table," Sabato says.