The conventional wisdom is the 2012 GOP race is turning into a Rick Perry vs. Mitt Romney contest. However, history suggests there will be one more player in the mix.
Race 4 2012.com says GOP presidential primaries never narrow down to a two-person battle this quickly.
In every past Republican primary, there has always been a strong 3rd candidate to rival the two front-runners. In 1980, John Anderson nearly won Vermont and Massachusetts against both George Bush and Ronald Reagan. In 1988, Pat Robertson was the third man in the Bush v. Dole battle. In 1996, Dole faced Buchanan, Forbes and Alexander, and the first three all won primaries. In 2000, Bush fought McCain in New Hampshire, after he had to face Steve Forbes in Iowa. In 2008 we all remember it being a McCain v. Romney v. Huckabee fight. In short, Republican primaries always have a third man performing strongly before the race narrows down to two.