Democratic Party Nominee: Barack Obama 
The incumbent President seeks a second term in office after an initial tenure that included passing major new healthcare legislation and dealing with the BP oil spill in Louisiana as well as the tornadoes in the American Midwest. This time around he has the remains of his war-chest from 4 years ago and Air Force One at his disposal amongst other White House privileges.

Republican Party Nominee: Mitt Romney 

Republican Party Runners:
Rick Perry: The Gov. of Texas is the longest consecutively serving Governor in the country and was once a Democrat. He entered the race later than his rivals and has seemingly become the other frontrunner. 

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Mitt Romney: The former Governor of Massachusetts is best known for his successful state health care reforms but it could also be his Achilles heel. A mormon, he ran in 2008 but this time he will be a more known quantity to the GOP grassroots and an early frontrunner.

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Michele Bachmann: The Congresswoman from Minnesota is a Tea Party favourite with her fiscally and socially conservative views. Well known for branding Obama as "anti-American" in 2008 and foster caring for 23 children.

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Tim Pawlenty: The former Governor of Minnesota served two terms and is a self-described 'social conservative' and evangelical Christian who says he wants to criminalise abortion. He was the first of the big runner to withdraw after a lacklustre performance in the Ames Iowa straw poll. Went on to pledge his support to Mitt Romney. 
Jon Huntsman (Jr.): A fiscal conservative, the former Governor of Utah won two terms but resigned midway into his second to become President Obama's Ambassador to China. A distant cousin of rival Mitt Romney he too is of Mormon faith and son of a billionaire chemical magnate.

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Newt Gingrich: Former Speaker of the House was once the unrivalled GOP general. Famed for regularly locking horns with then President Bill Clinton and also engineered the pioneering 'Contract with America' in 1996. 

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Ron Paul: The libertarian leaning and evergreen politician from Texas is embarking on his third run for the Republican nomination for President. He developed somewhat of a cult hero status with his swashbuckling campaign in 2008 particularly with his debating skills.

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Rick Santorum: A social and fiscal conservative, the former two-term Pennsylvania Senator is perhaps best known for becoming a neologism due to his views on homosexuality. Historically abrasive and partisan he will certainly provide sound bite material but it appears doubtful that he'll mount a significant challenge.
Gary Johnson: The former Governor of New Mexico is a devout libertarian having not raised taxes at all during his governorship as well as campaigning for the legalisation of marijuana. He appeals strongly to fiscal conservatives but much less so to mainstream social conservatives and is widely considered a long-shot candidate.

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Buddy Roemer: A former one term Governor of Louisiana he was also once a Democrat before switching allegiance in 1991. Also served three terms as a Congressman and is best known for dealing with the $1.3 billion state budget deficit and for his skill as an orator. Now 67 years of age he has also had triple bypass heart surgery. 
Herman Cain: The radio host and newspaper columnist from Georgia is also the former CEO of the Godfather's Pizza chain. Before his business career he was a ballistics mathematician in the US Navy and he was an economics adviser to the Dole campaign in 1996. Known for his public adversity to Muslims he has polled well for a fringe runner.   

Thad McCotter: The representative for Michigan's 11th District is generally considered an independently minded conservative and a strong supporter of former President GW Bush's war in Iraq. He is also well known in D.C. for being the first Republican to oppose GW Bush's T.A.R.P bailout in 2008 and led 132 other dissenting Republicans.    
Fred Karger: He is the first openly gay presidential candidate from any mainstream political party. An experienced political consultant, having worked on 9 presidential campaigns, he has never held public office before. A renowned gay rights campaigner he is certainly a long-shot candidate and has described himself as the "anti-Romney candidate." His overall aim for the campaign is to inspire the next generation of LGBT candidates.

All photos on this page are published under Creative Commons Licenses and obtained via Flickr. All attempts have been made to credit copyright holders. Photos by Gage Skidmore, Photo Gallery, theqspeaks and zennie62.