The Republican Presidential Contest Suddenly Heats Up - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

The Republican Presidential Contest Suddenly Heats Up

HUFFINGTONPOST.COM - The still unsettled race for the Republican nomination to challenge President Barack Obama in 2012 is getting more interesting.

After months of resisting calls to join the contest, Texas Gov. Rick Perry said Friday he would consider it. That could reshape the GOP field, adding a sitting governor who has never lost an election.

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin also sent a jolt through the party with the announcement of a campaign-style bus tour along the East Coast, the latest possible contender to stand up since Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels announced last weekend that he would not run.

And former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani is heading to New Hampshire next week, further stirring speculation that he will jump into the still-gelling field.

Perry, the longest serving governor in Texas history, would bring conservative bona fides, a proven fundraising record and a fresh voice. Even as Perry's closest advisers say he has no intention of getting in the race, he has methodically raised his profile, fanning interest.

"I'm going to think about it," Perry said Friday. "I think about a lot of things."

That was enough to set off speculation he would jump into a campaign that lacks a clear front-runner. Social conservatives are still shopping for a candidate. Tea party activists want one of their own. Establishment Republicans remain divided on a choice.

Mitt Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, is the closest to a favorite at this point. Like Giuliani, he ran for the nomination in 2008, losing out to Arizona Sen. John McCain.

Romney will formally kick off his campaign in the early primary state of New Hampshire next Thursday, the same day that Giuliani is now scheduled to headline a fundraiser for the state Republican Party and have lunch with several GOP activists. >>>CLICK HERE TO READ MORE FROM HUFFINGTONPOST.COM

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