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Editorial: GOP?is facing a fight of its own

Minnesota's Tim Pawlenty stepped back into the Republican presidential nomination race Monday with his endorsement of former rival Mitt Romney and becoming Romney's national campaign co-chairman.

The move is an indicator of the coming battle for the heart of the Republican Party. Democrats should not be engaging in revelry either as their likely candidate -- Barack Obama -- has problems of his own.

Republicans are migrating to two primary groups: traditional party leaders, like Romney and Pawlenty, and the party's grassroots conservatives, like tea party members and their favorites Gov. Rick Perry, R-Texas, and Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn.

This will be a battle for the Republican Party of 2012. It will be a confrontation over political styles as well as a showdown of principle vs. pragmatism. This will be a bruising political battle.

One needs look no further than the challenge House Speaker John Boehner faced with the first-year Republican members of the House during the debt ceiling debate earlier this summer. These GOP freshmen did not necessarily toe the party leader's line.

The Republican Party is facing a balancing act between the party establishment and the activists' prominence, especially among the tea party groups.

Frankly, the two do not agree on some issues or get along that well at times.

The party establishment is seeking a candidate who will also appeal to independents as well as conservatives. They are also seeking someone who can aid their fundraising.

The tea party groups are seeking a candidate who will march with them and stay true to their principles.

Before the Republican Party ramps up for the 2012 election, it must figure out a way to complete this GOP turf war without damaging their nominee significantly.