The Road to 2016: Power Rankings Week V

POWER RANKINGS 2016

46 Weeks out of the Iowa Caucus

86 Weeks out of Election Day 2016

There are currently 0 national candidates declared.

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First Class Speculative Candidates, GOP

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.Scott WaFile:Scott Walker by Gage Skidmore.jpglker: There’s no one running for President yet, officially, but Scott Walker is the front-runner. For the fifth week in a row, Walker’s position has remained unchanged. While this week was light on Republican candidate news (focus was primarily on the Hillary Clinton email scandal and a letter written by 47 Senators to Iran), Walker has continued to impress the GOP rank and file. However, the coming storm between Walker and Jeb Bush has not gone unnoticed. Some on the Bush team are wondering when it will be time to officially go after Walker.

Current Rating: Unchanged: 1st

Political Stock: HOLD

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Jehttp://media.oregonlive.com/opinion_impact/photo/jeb-bush-20119761jpg-a137a6bdd738a087.jpgb Bush: The money is starting to roll in to the Jeb Bush campaign. While this week was light on news coming out of the Bush camp, it looks like Bush’s allies are set to begin the offensive to take the top spot from Walker. The base’s perception of Bush hasn’t changed yet, and that has to be giving him some heartburn about his future as a national candidate.

Current Rating: 2nd

Up One Spot from Last Week

Political Stock: HOLD

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Second Class Speculative Candidates, GOP

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Rand http://i.huffpost.com/gen/1360018/thumbs/o-RAND-PAUL-facebook.jpgPaul:  Rand Paul had a good week from a hawk perspective. However, Rand Paul cannot run as a hawk. It dilutes his message and brand. This week, Senator Paul signed a letter to the Iranian government, along with 46 other Republican Senators, effectively challenging the Obama Administration’s handling of negotiations over Iran’s nuclear energy/weapons program. Senator Paul needs to remember that his brand is separating himself from the crowded field of Republican hawks. America is, by all accounts, not looking for another war. Pandering to a small, but influential, lobby is not going to help Senator Paul in the future when that lobby was never going to support him anyway.

However, Senator Paul stuck to his guns and has proposed a bill with Senators Gillibrand and Booker that is aimed at sweeping reforms to medical marijuana laws across the country. This has been a key piece of Senator Paul’s legislative agenda, plays well with the “tattoos” crowd that Senator Paul has been playing at recruiting to the Party, and moves him away from the “racist” fringe of the GOP.

Current Rating: 3rd

Down One Spot from Last Week

Political Stock: HOLD

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Third Class Speculative Candidates, GOP

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http://d35brb9zkkbdsd.cloudfront.net/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/Marco-Rubio-Big-Smile-600x399.jpgMarco Rubio:  The same Iran letter that hurt Rand Paul’s image is giving Rubio some much-needed press exposure this week. Rubio picked up a former Mitt Romney aide this week and has been getting considerable amounts of inside-the-beltway buzz. Only time will tell if this consolidation of power will lead anywhere, but it’s clear Rubio wants to make a race of it.

Current Rating: 4th

Up Three Spots from Last Week

Political Stock: BUY

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http://media.salon.com/2013/05/ted_cruz2.jpgTed Cruz:  Ted Cruz benefits this week from the Iran letter in the same way as Senator Rubio in that it gives him some good press with the GOP hawk base. However, beyond that, Cruz has not been making a splash on the Campaign trail and one wonders if he’s actually going to run at all.

Watch out for Rand Paul’s poachers.

Current Rating: 5th

Up One Spot from Last Week

Political Stock: SELL

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http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/4/49/Ben_Carson_by_Gage_Skidmore_2.jpgDr. Ben Carson: Ben Carson had a bad week last week, but, in the game of raising national prominence, even bad press has a silver lining. Carson has become a talked about and watched figure, despite his deeply controversial statements about gays. However, Carson has clearly figured that pandering to the extreme in the base is a good way to get a core of support. Polls show that, at least at this early stage, he’s not wrong. Time will tell if Carson can hold on to his prominence without falling into the category of being a niche candidate with only a few ardent supporters.

Current Rating: 6th

Down 1 Spot from Last Week

Political Stock: SELL

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http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/c/c9/Mike_Pence%2C_official_portrait%2C_112th_Congress.jpgMike Pence: Governor Pence has been a longtime favorite in the Rankings as the big “dark horse” pick. Unfortunately, this prediction isn’t playing out as Governor Pence is making no real news regarding a run for the White House. With other Governors (like Scott Walker) making daily news and defining themselves broadly for the electorate, it looks more and more that Pence may wait to make a play in 2020.

Current Rating: 7th

Down Three Spots from Last Week

Political Stock: HOLD

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File:Bobby Jindal by Gage Skidmore.jpgBobby Jindal: The letter sent by 47 Republican Senators to the leadership of Iran drew fire from Democrats this week but won strong praise from Governor Jindal. Jindal, strengthening his hawkish position, affirmed the 47’s view that any “future president” could get rid of a bad deal made by Obama. In the least-subtle way possible: Jindal is talking about what President Jindal would do. Jindal isn’t rising in the Rankings this week because of concern about his proposed tax increases (despite his anti-tax pledge) in Louisiana (let’s call it what it is). But, Jindal is still trying to hone his message for a run for the White House in the near future.

Current Rating: Unchanged: 8th

Political Stock: HOLD

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File:Chris Christie 2011 Shankbone.JPGChris Christie: There’s a chance Governor Christie has finally hit bottom. Maybe this is the point from which he can mount a major resurgence against a flagging Bush or Walker. Anything is possible this early in the game. However, despite having some new money coming in, most press sources are declaring the Governor’s presidential ambitions to be dead.

As we talked about here last week, Christie should not be counted out yet. There are a lot of Republican governors and senators who owe Christie for helping their runs in 2014 when the New Jersey Governor was at the height of his popularity. It remains to be seen whether Christie can capitalize on this untapped support.

Current Ranking: Unchanged 9th

Political Stock: SELL

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John KFile:Governor John Kasich.jpgasich: Governor Kasich, like Governor Pence, above, is making very little in the way of Presidential waves. Maybe this means that Kasich and Pence will let the early contenders bloody each other then the “real” candidates will enter the race. On the other hand, maybe both are waiting for 2020. Kasich is headed to New Hampshire in a few weeks, but aside from that, there’s nothing to see here, folks.

Current Ranking: Unchanged 10th

Political Stock:  SELL

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http://cpac.conservative.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2014/11/CarlyFiorina.jpg

Carly Fiorina: A bad week for Hillary Clinton is a boon to Fiorina who is already being dubbed the GOP’s anti-Hillary. While it may be a plot right out of Season Three of House of Cards to have one female candidate savaging another, it appears that Fiorina has embraced the image of being the attacker. It certainly raises her profile within the GOP ranks and makes her appealing to the base. More than that, as long as she can be seen as the anti-Hillary the base, which, nearly to a person, despises Mrs. Clinton, will grow to love Fiorina’s rhetoric.

Current Ranking: Unchanged 11th

Political Stock: BUY

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Fourth Class Speculative Candidates, GOP

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http://www.texaswatchdog.org/files/rickperry_5.jpgRick Perry: Rick Perry needs to improve his image if he’s going to make a run in a crowded field. While he is doing his best to talk about foreign policy and his support for the 47 GOP Senators who wrote a letter to the leadership of Iran, Perry still remains in the gaffe-prone department. This week he noted that ultra-hawk Senator Lindsey Graham was someone from whom the former governor would take foreign policy advice.

Current Ranking: Unchanged 12th

Political Stock:

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http://fitsnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/graham.jpgLindsey Graham: Lindsey Graham said some crazy stuff this week about using the military to force Congress to vote on raising defense spending. Hopefully this was a joke, but knowing the most hawkish Senator in the country, it may not be. Graham also said he doesn’t use email in response to the controversy surrounding Hillary Clinton. He was also one of the 47 GOP Senators who signed a letter to the leadership of Iran regarding the power of a future Republican President to undo an Obama Administration nuclear deal.

Current Ranking: Unchanged 13th

Political Stock: HOLD

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http://c1355372.cdn.cloudfiles.rackspacecloud.com/4d77c29a-b959-4be9-8730-f88f56a2297a/RJSportrait.jpgRick Santorum: No news regarding former Senator Santorum this week aside from the fact that it looks like he is headed to South Carolina. This is interesting to note because South Carolina would be a must-win state for the evangelical hawk if he’s to have any pull in mid-to-late primaries.

Current Ranking: Unchanged 14th

Political Stock: SELL

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http://www.thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/trevinwax/files/2014/04/mike-huckabee-deborah-feingold-1.jpgMike Huckabee: Mike Huckabee remains on the list, but seems more content to make comments to the news and not actively campaign for the White House. As a former governor of Arkansas, his comments about dealing with the Clintons before they came into the national spotlight were interesting.

Current Ranking: Unchanged 15th

Political Stock: SELL

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Unranked Speculative Candidates

Sarah Palin, Bob Ehrlich, John Bolton, Rob Portman, Asa Hutchinson, Nikki Haley

If any of these potential candidates make moves towards running, they will get a ranking.

Matt McDaniel

Attorney and Political Commentator

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