And the 2011 Hot Air Readership Republican of the Year Award goes to…

A big thanks to everyone that participated in our Second Annual HARRY balloting, particularly as the holidays have kicked in. Who’s the Hot Air Readership Republican of the Year? Let’s start with the minor categories.

Hot Air Story of the Year

Sorry, AG Holder, but blog posts about Fast and Furious claimed the top spot for 2011, taking the crown by a wide margin. Blog posts about the Presidential primary took a distant second, followed by the death of Osama bin Laden.

Preferred Vice Presidential Candidate of Hot Air Readers

I opted to go free-form for a number of these questions — with some unexpected results — but one result I did expect was this one: Hot Air readers chose Marco Rubio as their preferred candidate for Vice President. And it wasn’t all that close, either.

This is Rubio’s second nomination and second win for Best Politician Hopefully in a Supporting Role, making him Hot Air’s first repeat winner. Worth noting that during the year, Allen West was a regular winner of the VP question in the monthly surveys. Last year, he placed sixth at the HARRYs and was the VP of the most popular “ticket.” He remains competitive today.

And now, Gary Busey rambling.

The pageantry. Moving on, Hot Air voters are very enthusiastic to vote in 2012…

… though they’re a little less enthusiastic to vote for their candidate.

Hot Air Commenters of the Year

There was no clear winner here, and given the number of free-form possibilities for this question, vote totals and candidates were a tad fragmented. (In the future, I may just take nominations ahead of time.) A big takeaway, though, is that readers like it when Allahpundit, Ed, and Tina jump into the threads to mix it up a bit. Among those who don’t write for the site, bishop, Cindy Munford, canopfor, Unseen, Madison Conservative and upinak appear to have developed a fair amount of respect from — or at least, generated a fair amount of entertainment for — other Hot Air commenters. Congrats to all the winners!

Preferred Presidential Candidate of Hot Air Readers

Newt Gingrich takes the prize for Best Politician in a Hopefully Leading Role, but his early-December downward trend has continued with Hot Air readers.

Rick Perry ticks up a bit and remains in second. Mitt Romney takes third again. And Rick Santorum leap frogs Michele Bachmann into fourth, doubling his previous percentage of the vote. Suffice to say, Iowa should be very interesting.

Preferred Ticket of Hot Air Readers

Last year readers in the aggregate preferred a Sarah Palin-Allen West ticket. This year, the most popular ticket is Rick Perry-Marco Rubio, with Gingrich-Rubio a close second.

Which leads us to…

The Hot Air Readership Republican of the Year

And the HARRY goes to…

In a fragmented free-form race, the top two vote-getters ended up very close to one another, but in the end Paul Ryan edges past champion Sarah Palin for the 2011 HARRY. The most often nominated candidates follow:

Ryan was at several points considered a serious candidate for the Presidency in 2011 but, more importantly I think, he was considered a serious student of policy throughout. For a more personal overview, I’ll quote Larry Kudlow’s Human Events recap of what made Ryan important this year:

Well, here comes the old-fashioned Ryan, a man who’s interested in policy, not personal ambition. He also has to help raise his young family. He and his wife Janna have two boys ages seven and eight and a girl age nine. He’s been teaching his nine-year-old Liza how to shoot a .243 light-caliber Remington 700 bolt-action hunting rifle. The weekend before Christmas, he took his crew to Medieval Times on the North Shore of Chicago, where they watched knights on horseback jousting with each other while eating a little junk food. Family is clearly more important right now than presidential ambition.

So would he become Office of Management and Budget director in a Republican administration? “I don’t think about it,” he said. But for the 2012 election, Ryan has a political vision: Republicans must develop and communicate a clear policy agenda along the lines of his “Path to Prosperity.” Then, should they win, the GOP can use this agenda to govern effectively.

“Reagan had this right,” Ryan told me. For the congressman from Wisconsin, it’s the American Idea. That’s Ryan’s vision. And the Republican Party had better take notice, because this election could be America’s last chance for a very long time.

That’s a wrap. I’m on Twitter. Merry Christmas, and Happy Holidays!