Who is best positioned to win the 2012 Republican presidential nomination? Find out here, in The Hotline's inaugural Presidential Power Rankings. We rank the top 15 GOP contenders using a formula that answers a simple question: Who is currently in the strongest position to secure the nomination? Our criteria:
1. Money: How much do they have? How much can they raise?
2. Campaign infrastructure: Do they have the ability to assemble a competitive and competent staff, both at the national and state levels?
3. Strengths: What issue(s) can the candidate truly hang their hat on? Is there a specific area of expertise they can sell to voters? Do they have a strong track record on one particular issue?
4. Weaknesses: Every candidate has one -- heck, most candidates have plenty -- and the reality is that eventually they will have to address them. This will be easier for some contenders than others: Explaining away one vote for bad legislation is far easier than justifying a major moral lapse or some fatally flawed executive decision. At the end of the day, some candidates will have weaknesses, and others will have albatrosses. It's the latter group who should be worried.
So how did the potential contenders stack up? Go here to find out.