The presidential candidate for the Republican party continues to be a fuzzy picture with no much clarity in sight before the Iowa caucuses in January.

The process in choosing the person that will run against President Obama next year has run the gamut of trends.

Mitt Romney has maintained a pretty steady presence throughout the process, in the midst of fervent runs up the polls from his competitors.

Rick Perry made among the first spirited charges against Romney, which leveled off after a few subpar performances in the debates. Perry, though, has managed to keep himself as a viable candidate.

There was also the brief flirtation from top GOP donors with Governor Christie, who ultimately decided to pass on the 2012 campaign, while lending his support to Romney.

The next man up was Herman Cain, who surged and cemented himself at the top of the ticket, before ultimately becoming undone by a sex scandal. Cain has since “suspended” his campaign with no restart in sight.

The most surprising candidate to make the climb has been Newt Gingrich. Gingrich was an afterthought early on in the race, but now sits as the clubhouse leader in Iowa with 31% favorability in recent polls. Newt’s campaign slowly gained strength throughout as he posted solid performances in the debates. Cain’s exit has added even more momentum, while Romney has leveled off for the moment.

Flavor of the week has been a theme throughout this race, so it would not be surprising if Ron Paul or Jon Huntsman, or anybody else step up as the next “it” candidate.

While everybody seems unified in bashing the first term of President Barack Obama, not much else feels unified about the GOP.

Extreme mudslinging has been commonplace during the race, with Gingrich even calling out his brethren to stop the trash talking during a debate. That moment struck me as a relieving, change of pace thing to hear as we all grow tired of politics as usual.

This race will flip and flop and turn and twist over the next several months.

When a candidate is chosen, though, Republicans must put the brakes on the rollercoaster ride and become united, if they want to win the 2012 election.