With Candidate Forum, Iowa's 2012 Race Unofficially Starts Today

Today marks the first major, multi-candidate forum in the 2012 presidential race, hosted by the socially conservative Iowa Faith & Freedom Coalition. Five possible candidates will speak at the groups 11th annual Spring Kick-off Event, being held tonight at the Point of Grace Church in Waukee, Iowa:

  • Newt Gingrich, who launched a 2012 exploratory website last week
  • Tim Pawlenty, who declined to run for reelection in 2010 and has been raising money through his federal PAC since October 2009
  • Herman Cain, the former CEO of Godfather's Pizza, who spoke at CPAC and has been accruing tea party cachet
  • Rick Santorum, the former Pennsylvania senator who was suspended by Fox News (along with Gingrich) last week as he mulls a presidential bid
  • Buddy Roemer, the former governor of Louisiana who isn't regularly included in 2012 polls or seen as a top-tier contender, but who announced a presidential exploratory committee last week

Notable absences from the list: Mike Huckabee, Mitt Romney, Sarah Palin, Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, Texas Rep. Ron Paul, Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, and Donald Trump.

Other absences include former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson and strategist Fred Karger, who is running for the Republican ticket on a gay-rights platform. (Karger is aiming to become the nation's first serious, openly gay presidential candidate. He's already openly gay, it's the serious-candidate part he's working on). Karger sought entry to this forum, but Iowa Faith & Freedom Alliance leader Steve Scheffler shut him out, claiming Karger is a single-issue candidate, not a serious contender. (Scheffler also told Karger he has a problem with the "radical homosexuality community" ...)

The 2012 race is still a cold war, but with Gingrich's announcement of an exploratory committee last week, it's starting to heat up. Most candidates have been to Iowa and/or New Hampshire numerous times in the past year and a half; today, appearing on stage in candidate-forum context, they'll take one more step toward officialdom.

Presented by

Chris Good is a political reporter for ABC News. He was previously an associate editor at The Atlantic and a reporter for The Hill.

Never Tell People How Old They Look

Age discrimination affects us all. Who cares about youth? James Hamblin turns to his colleague Jeffrey Goldberg for advice.

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Never Tell People How Old They Look

Age discrimination affects us all. James Hamblin turns to a colleague for advice.

Video

Would You Live in a Treehouse?

A treehouse can be an ideal office space, vacation rental, and way of reconnecting with your youth.

Video

Pittsburgh: 'Better Than You Thought'

How Steel City became a bikeable, walkable paradise

Video

A Four-Dimensional Tour of Boston

In this groundbreaking video, time moves at multiple speeds within a single frame.

Video

Who Made Pop Music So Repetitive? You Did.

If pop music is too homogenous, that's because listeners want it that way.

More in Politics

Just In