With the May 29 win in Texas finally pushing Mitt Romney above the necessary 1,144 delegates, the former Massachusetts governor now officially stands atop a field of defeated political foes. Ron Paul is still in the race, but is not actively campaigning in the remaining primary states, while Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, Buddy Roemer, Rick Perry, Jon Huntsman Jr., Michele Bachmann, Gary Johnson, Herman Cain and Tim Pawlenty have all withdrawn and endorsed Romney, or sought presidential nominations elsewhere. Here's a look at the 10 candidates Mitt Romney had to overcome to gather his delegates and where they are now.
Entering the race: Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, officially entered the GOP presidential race on May 13, 2011, saying, "Time has come around to the point where the people are agreeing with much of what I've been saying for 30 years." The announcement changed his status of "exploring" a run for the presidency to actually running.
* New strategy: On May 14, 2012, Paul announced he would stop spending money on the 11 remaining primaries, choosing instead to concentrate his efforts on accumulating delegates. The more delegates Paul wins, the more influence he will have at the Republican National Convention in August.
The Christian Science Monitor reports that Paul has specific goals he plans to advance by staying in the GOP rather than pursuing a third-party strategy. These include making the Republican Party more amenable to his libertarian principles, demonstrating an orderly show of force from his delegates and supporters and shining a spotlight on the Federal Reserve, indefinite detentions and Internet freedom.
Paul's renewed focus on delegates is already in effect, and he collected 12 of 13 delegates at the Minnesota state GOP convention. His victory there means 32 of Minnesota's 40 national delegates will be committed to Paul at the Republican National Convention.
Entering the race: On March 3, 2011, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich launched an exploratory website called NewtExplore2012.com, with the message, "We are excited about exploring whether there is sufficient support for my potential candidacy for president of this exceptional country." He made his bid official on May 11, 2011.
Leaving the race: After experiencing campaign turmoil, including an ABC interview with his ex-wife that aired two days before the South Carolina primary, Gingrich went on to win the South Carolina and Georgia primaries. However, after rival Mitt Romney swept primaries in New York, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Delaware and Rhode Island on April 24, Gingrich signaled that his campaign had reached its end.
Where he is now: After exiting, Gingrich endorsed Romney, calling him "a solid conservative" during an appearance on "Face the Nation" and promising to do whatever he can to help defeat President Barack Obama. Since then, Newsmax reports, Gingrich has indicated his willingness to be a surrogate for and to make speeches on behalf of Romney. He also wants to campaign for House and Senate candidates.
Vice presidential possibilities: "You have known me a long time," Gingrich told Bob Schieffer on CBS. "Would you pick me to be vice presidential nominee? I mean, I'm so much — my own agent, it would be — it's inconceivable."
Entering the race: On April 13, 2011, former Senator Rick Santorum, R-Penn., announced that he had opened a committee to explore the possibility of a presidential run. In June, Santorum made it official, saying "we're ready to get into this race, and we're in it to win."
Leaving the race: After losing Iowa to Mitt Romney, only to win Iowa days later, Santorum's race to the White House continued, sweeping to victories in Missouri, Minnesota and Colorado. After Romney's answering sweep in the April 3 primary elections, Santorum suspended his presidential campaign on April 10, 2012.
Where he is now: On May 7, Santorum urged his supporters to back Romney, saying, "The primary campaign certainly made it clear that Gov. Romney and I have some differences. But there are many significant areas in which we agree." Above all else, he said, defeating President Barack Obama is most important. Santorum is currently working to pay off his debt from the 2012 campaign, and is slated to speak at the Texas GOP convention in June.
Vice presidential possibilities: Santorum said he is willing to do everything he can to help win the 2012 election when asked about accepting the VP slot. However, Franklin & Marshall College Poll Directory G. Terry Madonna said there's no chance Santorum will be VP. Madonna said it's more likely Santorum will get a book or TV deal, influencing elections but not running in them.
Entering the race: Charles Elson "Buddy" Roemer, a former Representative and a former governor of La., announced his candidacy for the Republican nomination on July 21, 2011. "I run to prepare America to grow jobs again, beginning with the elimination of our tolerance for unfair foreign trade practices and the use of our own tax code to chip jobs overseas," Roemer said. "I run to reveal and challenge the control of the special interest over our nation's capital, and demonstrate the freedom to lead that can only come from refusing their money."
Leaving the race: In February 2012, Roemer dropped his bid for the GOP nomination, choosing instead to seek the nomination under a third party. As a pushback for excluding him from the GOP debates (where he failed to meet the qualification threshold), Roemer also said he no longer considers himself affiliated with the Republican party.
Where he is now: On May 18, Roemer's hopes of getting the nomination of Americans Elect, a group which has been pushing for a third-party candidate, also came to an end when Americans Elect shut down its efforts, saying no candidate met the benchmark for its nomination process.
Roemer supporters criticized the Americans Elect website process, saying it was over-ambitious.
"When candidates can't get verified, you've got a problem," Roemer campaign manager Carlos Sierra told CNN.
Entering the race: Texas Gov. Rick Perry came into the 2012 race with high expectations, announcing his presidential bid on Aug. 13, 2011 and surging to the top of the board by August 24. "It is time to believe again in the potential of American enterprise set free from the shackles," Perry said. "The change we seek will never emanate out of Washington D.C., it will come from the windswept prairies of middle America, the farms and factories across this great land."
Leaving the race: Perry stumbled out of the gate, running into trouble at presidential debates. From a hesitant performance in the face of criticisms from his opponents to his infamous "oops" moment, Perry's campaign struggled to gain traction. After finishing fifth in Iowa and skipping New Hampshire, Perry pulled out of the race two days prior to South Carolina's primary, on Jan. 19, 2012.
Where he is now: Perry originally endorsed Newt Gingrich in the presidential race, but after Gingrich ended his campaign, Perry transferred his support to Mitt Romney at the end of April. As the longest serving governor in Texas state history, Perry has remained coy about running for governor again, but consultant Bill Miller told the Houston Chronicle that, "if anyone looks at his schedule and thinks that this guy is not running for re-election, they're crazy."
Vice presidential possibilities: When Gingrich was still in the running and had Perry's support, Perry declined to discuss taking a VP slot. "Texas governor versus VP?" Perry said on Fox and Friends. "The balance on that one isn't even close. I would suggest to you that's deep in the rumor category, and I got a better gig where I am, thank you."
Entering the race: Months after stepping down from his post as the U.S. Ambassador to China, former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman entered the presidential race on June 21, 2011, saying the America of today is "less powerful, less compassionate, less competitive and less confident," and that such a status is "totally unacceptable and totally un-American."
Leaving the race: In a campaign of swings and bumps, Huntsman failed to gain as much traction as some of his rivals. His economic plan garnered praise from The Wall Street Journal, his daughters went viral on Youtube, but Huntsman himself remained low in the polls. Huntsman poured resources into the New Hampshire race, hoping for some 'Hunts-mentum' via a victory there, but ended up coming in third behind Mitt Romney and Ron Paul. Huntsman dropped out of the race on Jan. 16, 2012.
Where he is now: After ending his presidential run, Huntsman endorsed Mitt Romney. In February, after calling for a third-party presidential candidate, Huntsman was disinvited from the Republican National Committee's donor gathering in Palm Beach. He later complained that "this is what they do in China on party matters if you talk off script." In follow-up interviews, Huntsman said that he was "waxing philosophical" and that his words had been taken out of context. Since his campaign ended, Huntsman's China knowledge has been in demand. In a May interview, Huntsman said he was ready to hit the trail on Romney's behalf.
Vice presidential possibilities: In January, a Romney surrogate said, "Huntsman is certainly a runner for a potential VP, as are others of the candidates."
Entering the race: Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., a tea party favorite, announced her intention to enter the presidential race on June 13, 2011. She officially entered the 2012 Republican presidential contest on June 27, saying "I seek the presidency not for vanity, but because America is at a crucial moment and I believe that we must make a bold choice if we are to secure the promise of our future."
Leaving the race: Bachmann's fortunes in the race rose and fell in Iowa, beginning with the rise in August, when she claimed victory at the Ames GOP straw poll. The fall came after the Iowa primary, when Bachmann finished in sixth place behind Rick Santorum, Mitt Romney, Ron Paul, Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry. A split in Bachmann's strategy team and Rick Perry's entrance into the presidential race may have impacted her eventual finish in Iowa, but the election results were the impetus behind her exit.
Where she is now: In January, Bachmann announced her intention to pursue a fourth term in the House of Representatives. Bachmann endorsed Romney in May, days before claiming dual Swiss citizenship (on behalf of her children) and subsequently withdrawing her dual citizenship. She has been campaigning for Romney since her endorsement and recently made a brief appearance in a video with other House Republican women.
Vice presidential possibilities: In November 2011, Romney backer Norm Coleman suggested Bachmann as a possible VP pick, saying she excelled at fund raising and keeping voters energized. U.S. News suggested her positions on taxes and deficit and her House Intelligence Committee-gained foreign policy knowledge could help Romney in the VP slot.
Entering the race: Former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson took to Twitter for the announcement: "First time to say it. 'I'm running for President.'" Johnson followed up that tweet, saying, "Right now, we need to fix the fiscal mess. The writing of a financial collapse is on the wall. Balance the federal budget tomorrow."
Leaving the race: Johnson qualified for a Fox News Channel September debate in Orlando, Fla. After delivering the debate's most memorable one-liner ("My next door neighbor's dogs have created more shovel ready jobs than this administration"), Johnson dropped out on Dec. 28, 2011, in order to seek the Libertarian Party nomination.
Where he is now: Johnson won the Libertarian Party nomination on May 5, earning a spot on November ballots in all 50 states, his campaign said. A May 12 Fox News post by Douglas Schoen posits that Johnson could catch the presidential race by surprise, providing a new voice and expanding rather than narrowing the political debate.
Entering the race: Herman Cain announced the formation of a presidential exploratory committee on "Your World" with Neil Cavuto in January 2011. His official entrance into the race came in May, as he said, "It's time to get real folks. Hope and change ain't working. Hope and change is not a solution. Hope and change is not a job."
Leaving the race: Like many in the 2012 GOP race, Cain experienced a surge in the polls, effectively tying with Mitt Romney in October. Cain's 9-9-9 proposal gained him attention at debates, and by November, polls showed Cain in a three-way race with Romney and Newt Gingrich. Cain's campaign was derailed by allegations of sexual harassment, however, and although Cain denied any misconduct, he suspended his campaign on Dec. 3 because "of the continued distractions, the continued hurt caused on me and my family."
Where he is now: Cain endorsed Romney on May 16, marking his third endorsement ("we the people" and Newt Gingrich) since ending his campaign. On Monday, Forbes contributor Ralph Benko suggested that Cain could one day prove to be an influence on the House, Senate and presidential elections, as well as the future of the GOP.
Vice presidential possibilities: In April, Cain said he's willing to talk to Romney about the vice president job, if requested. On May 16, Cain recommended Rep. Allen West, R-Fla., for the job.
Entering the race: Tim Pawlenty, a former Minnesota governor, formally announced his candidacy for president in May 2011, kicking off a multi-state campaign swing in Florida, New Hampshire, New York and Washington, D.C. "I'm running for president because I can tackle and fix the budget deficit and the debt and get this economy back on track," Pawlenty said. "That's what I did in Minnesota and that's what I can do for America."
Leaving the race: Pawlenty faced an early challenge against Minnesota's Michele Bachmann, with Pawlenty staking his claim on Iowa. Suffering from low poll numbers, Pawlenty sought to increase his name recognition from its March ranking of 41 percent. After finishing third in the Ames Straw Poll behind Bachmann and Ron Paul, Pawlenty dropped out of the race in August, saying his campaign hadn't gotten the traction it needed in Iowa to move forward.
Where he is now: Pawlenty endorsed Mitt Romney in September, saying he believed Romney would be the eventual GOP nominee. At the same time, Romney announced that Pawlenty would be a national co-chairman of his campaign, as a "trusted adviser" and an "advocate for lower taxes, reduced spending and an environment where jobs can be created." Pawlenty said in May that he hasn't ruled anything in or out when it comes to his future political aspirations.
Vice presidential possibilities: In an April interview, Pawlenty said Romney will be a "great nominee and a great president," but he ruled himself out of consideration for the vice presidential spot. However, Pawlenty is still being mentioned as a possible VP pick due to his own words. In May, Pawlenty said Romney's "going to have a lot of great people to pick from" and that "obviously, anyone would be honored to serve if asked."