In the months leading up to the GOP presidential primary, Republicans still search for a conservative challenger to perennial frontrunner former Gov. Mitt Romney, who many fear is too moderate and too inconsistent to rally the base. Rep. Michele Bachmann jumped to the top-tier in August after winning the Ames Straw Poll. Her victory was soon overshadowed by Texas Gov. Rick Perry's entrance into the race. With a strong jobs record and an evangelical edge, he too seemed to be Romney's most viable threat, until his weak performance in GOP debates led many to doubt his abilities. His "oops" stumble at Wednesday's CNBC debate only confirmed those doubts. As Perry's popularity began to wane, former Godfather's Pizza CEO Herman Cain's accelerated. His 9-9-9 economic plan, sense of humor, and unconventional campaign style charmed many conservatives and raked in millions in campaign contributions. However, the recent allegations of sexual harassment, though Cain firmly denies, have tainted his prospects and sent conservatives searching for a new "Non-Romney."
Commentators (and fake news anchors) have picked up on the rapid rise and fall of GOP challengers to Romney, with even former Gov. Tim Pawlenty, a former presidential candidate himself, calling them "flavors of the month." That hasn't stopped the media from searching for a new one, this time, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich.
According to Friday's CBS poll, Gingrich is polling at 15 percent, making him only 3 points behind Cain and tied with Romney. Mallie Kim reports on Gingrich's "slow and steady" campaign. Speaking to Republican pollsters, she notes that, unlike previous "flavors," Gingrich's momentum has grown in small but incremental gains, not the "meteoric hare-like" ascent seen in the cases of Bachmann, Perry, and Cain. Furthermore, he appears to be gaining ground among Tea Party-ers—which is exactly the energy that a candidate would need to harness to top Romney—while still appearing to be (as pollster Whit Ayers put it) a "grown-up who was trying to remain above the fray that the other candidates had stirred up."
What do you think? Is Newt Gingrich the next GOP flavor of the month? Take the poll and comment below.
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