This is the third annual year for this “prestigious” award.  The first year we selected who the winner was.  Last year contributors to this blog nominated conservatives whom they have felt have made an impact in the conservative movement over the past year and readers voted for their favorite..  Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin won in 2008 and again in 2009.  Below are our nominees that our readers can vote on.  Voting will remain open until 11:00p on 12/30/10 and the winner will be announced on 12/31.  As in the past the winner will receive a certificate and a Starbucks card (or another coffee shop if Starbucks isn’t available where they live).

So vote early, but this isn’t Chicago so don’t vote often.  You are welcome to spread the word to get others to come vote for your favorite because we do appreciate the traffic.

One editorial note before we get to the list.  These names were nominated by individual contributors and is not meant to mean a universal endorsement by Caffeinated Thoughts.

Below are our nominees (in no particular order) along with a brief explanation why they were chosen.  Contributors may possibly write separate posts encouraging you to vote for their nominee, and you can comment below who you voted for and why.

Bobby Jindal

Bobby Jindal is the current Governor of Louisiana and we felt it was appropriate to list Governor Jindal because of how he has led Louisiana in their recovery efforts, and he has done so in a fiscally conservative manner.  He is a policy wonk who still being in his 30s represents the future of conservatism.  Many expect a future presidential run in his future, but feel 2012 is too soon.

Nikki Haley

Nikki Haley is the Governor-elect of South Carolina and was designated a “Mama Grizzly” during the 2010 elections.  Haley we feel is worthy to be nominated due to the hard fought and won primary fight over establishment candidates in a four way race.  She also overcame personal smears made against her and one the primary with 49% and the runoff with 65%.  She beat her Democratic opponent by a four point margin.  Erick Erickson of RedState pointed out that she was the candidate that both libertarians and conservatives could rally around.  Once she is inaugurated she will be the first female Governor for South Carolina and the 2nd Indian-American Governor nationally (Jindal was the first).  We look forward to seeing Haley’s first term.

Mike Pence

Mike Pence is the U.S. Representative for Indiana’s 6th Congressional District.  Congressman Pence over the past year has been a favorite at tea party rallies, and has been a stalwart for social conservatism (along with fiscal conservatism) in the House.  He recently won the Family Research Council straw poll.  His future is up in the air as he is looked to be a possible 2012 candidate, but there are rumors that say he may run for Governor in Indiana as well.  We feel Congressman Pence has represented conservatism well and deserves a place here.

Mike Huckabee

Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee has definitely made a splash in the 2010 elections with his political action committee HuckPAC.  He has also been a voice for both social and fiscal conservatism through his weekly show on Fox News, Huckabee, and with his daily radio segments called The Huckabee Report.  He is considered to be one of the frontrunners for the 2012 GOP Presidential nomination should he choose to run.

Ron Paul

Congressman Ron Paul still has quite a following after his 2008 presidential campaign.  He is on this list due to push for limited government and personal liberty.  His Campaign for Liberty (he is the Honorary Chairman) made a huge impact in the 2010 campaign and he has been a tea party favorite.  One of our contributors, Dustin Krutsinger explains why he nominated him for this award.

Paul Ryan

Paul Ryan represents Wisconsin’s 1st Congressional District.  He has been a fiscal hawk and a leader among Republicans for solid fiscal policy, and we applaud his efforts.  There is talk about Congressman Ryan running for Wisconsin’s other Senate seat which would be an attempt to unseat the other incumbent Democrat Senator from Wisconsin as Senator Russ Feingold lost his seat back in November.

Rand Paul

Rand Paul was quite the surprise in the Kentucky Republican Senate Primary and demonstrated the clout of the tea party movement by upsetting the establishment candidate also overcoming smear tactics from within the Republican party and without.  Having a staunch advocate for limited government and personal liberty in the U.S. Senate will be a welcome addition.

Sarah Palin

The former Governor of Alaska and 2008 Vice Presidential candidate will likely always make this list while she is still out in the public eye.  She was a King (and Queen) maker in several primary races and the impact of her political action committee, SarahPAC, was felt nationally.  No one still has demonstrated Governor Palin’s ability to  level of influence a debate through a Facebook note (as well as interviews and commentary she provides on Fox News).  She wrote another bestseller this year: America By Heart: Reflections on Family, Faith and Flag.  She also is considered to be among the frontrunners should she choose to run for President in 2012.

Marco Rubio

Marco Rubio, the Senator-Elect from Florida is deserving of a nomination for standing for constitutional conservatism.  Seeing him defeat Florida Governor Charlie Crist who was the establishment candidate was a delight to see.  We look forward to his first term in the U.S. Senate as he seeks to bring tea party values to his caucus.

Michele Bachmann

Minnestoa Congresswoman Michele Bachmann has been an excellent spokesperson for conservatism in the U.S. House and a tea party favorite.  We appreciate her leadership in starting the tea party caucus.  She is also being discussed as being a potential senate candidate to unseat incumbent Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) in 2012.

Now it is your turn.  Let us know who you think should be our 2010 Caffeinated Conservative by voting below.

12/31/10 Update: Voting is now closed, congratulations to Congressman Ron Paul winning our third annual award, you can see the results here.

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