While many might be truly thankful the protracted presidential nomination process of the Republican Party appears to be mercilessly over, it isn't quite correct to say that the race is now down to a final battle between Mitt Romney and Barack Obama either.
There are, in fact, several other -- mostly unknown and certainly with no realistic chance of winning -- candidates who are vying for a shot at the White House in 2012 along with Obama and Romney. Here is a closer look at just a few of them in the race:
* Jim Rogers -- President Obama isn't actually running unopposed in the Democratic primary. One of his numerous challengers is this secretive former college professor from Oklahoma. Rogers was actually the Democratic Party's unlikely nominee in the 2010 Oklahoma senatorial race against wildly popular Republican incumbent Tom Coburn. Rogers got trounced in that race, but it hasn't stamped out his political ambition. In fact, he garnered 13.8 percent of the vote in this year's Democratic primary in Oklahoma against the president.
* Gary Johnson -- The former Republican and ex-governor of New Mexico dropped out of the presidential race as a member of the Republican Party at the end of last year. He then left the party and received the Libertarian Party's nomination to take on Obama and Romney in the general election. By far the most experienced of any previous Libertarian Party presidential candidate, as well as the most recognizable, Johnson could potentially pull some votes away from the two major candidates in November.
* Steward Alexander -- The Socialist Party USA nominee from Los Angeles won his party's nomination last October. Using the slogan "take the power back," the campaign is trying to rally around the support generated by the Occupy movement. It will be an uphill climb, however. In 2008 the Socialist Party candidate made it onto the ballot in only eight states.
* Virgil Goode -- This former Democrat and Virginia congressman secured the nomination of the Constitution Party last month in a close battle. The ultra-conservative party believes in a very strict interpretation of the Bill of Rights and maintains a libertarian and state's rights view of government. Some have speculated, including John Deeth for the Des Moines Register, that Goode's presence in the race (and to a lesser extent Johnson's) could ultimately assist Obama by courting Tea Party voters in some very close swing states.
- Politics & Government
- Barack Obama
- Mitt Romney
- the Republican Party
- Libertarian Party
- Jim Rogers
- Gary Johnson