Associated Press photo by Isaac Brekken

2012 race

2011 News of the Year | Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich break through a crowded field

Issue: "2011 News of the Year," Dec. 31, 2011

The field of candidates for the GOP presidential nomination swelled by late summer, with Rep. Michele Bachmann securing first place in the Iowa straw poll while former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty bowed out of the race following a disappointing third-place finish. Frontrunners traded places, with accusations of sexual misconduct prompting Herman Cain to suspend his campaign on Dec. 3. With the warmup year to balloting ending just three days before the Iowa caucuses, Gov. Mitt Romney and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich looked to be leading the pack-without a clear GOP pick in sight.

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