The self-appointed dark horse of the contest, David Davis, was always likely to be an early casualty.
Until joining the race Davis was barely known beyond the House of Commons. Within Westminster circles, however, in the 12 months before the general election his name frequently cropped up as a potential successor to William Hague.
Having shunned a front bench position under Hague in favour of chairing the influential Commons public accounts committee - in which role he raised both his profile and reputation in parliament - Davis suffered less failure-by-association than those who served as shadow ministers.
Davis is the son of a single mother and was adopted by a trade union shop steward. Some of his formative years were spent growing up on a south London council estate.
His CV also boasted an undeniable plus-point for anyone aiming to impress the Tory grassroots: as a weekend soldier he joined the Territorial SAS, but ultimately he never managed to clear the early hurdles and make his case directly to the party.