Christmas has come and gone, but many Republicans are still hoping their wishes of a new candidate in the GOP presidential nomination race will come true.

Names bandied about in the media and political circles include 2011 federal budget superstar Rep. Paul Ryan (Wis.), former Govs. Sarah Palin (Alaska) and Jeb Bush (Fla.) and real estate magnate Donald Trump, all heralded as potential saviors from the doldrums of the GOP primary process.

As the August Republican National Convention draws nearer, though, and as former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney continues to solidify his spot atop the list of candidates, any prospects of latecomers seem less and less likely. But voters and leaders alike continue to dream — even three days ago, social conservatives met in Texas to decide whether to make one last attempt to take out Romney, deciding to throw their support behind former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum.

But is it simply too late for anyone to come in and have a credible shot?

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