Matt McDaniel

8 minute read

POWER RANKINGS 2016

45 Weeks out of the Iowa Caucus

85 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: For the sixth week in a row, Governor Walker is in the top spot of the potential 2016 contenders. This week, Walker is courting South Carolina voters to sure up his support among religious conservatives who make up a large part of the First in the South primary state. Walker has begun to develop a Teflon-like character as few, if any, of the negative stories about Walker reported by major sources have dampened conservative enthusiasm. It still remains to be seen if Walker can keep his front-runner status all the way to the nomination. It may be that he is just biding his time at the top until Jeb Bush and the establishment decide to start spending their mountains of cash. However, by the time Bush jumps in, Walker is hoping to have already built an unassailable base of support.

Current Rating: Unchanged: 1st

**Political Stock: BUY

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Jehttp://media.oregonlive.com/opinion_impact/photo/jeb-bush-20119761jpg-a137a6bdd738a087.jpgb Bush: Jeb Bush is a confusing figure. On the one hand, he is clearly not well-liked by the conservative wing of the Republican Party and has miles to go to get any broad base of support. However, on the other hand, Bush has the potential to throw huge amounts of money at the 2016 race. This situation makes the Bush air of inevitability strongly out of touch with the way Republicans are looking at the 2016 race. If Bush is getting the advice to concentrate on the general election because of his strength in financials, he is in for a rude awakening when he can’t pull together a coalition that includes conservatives in the primaries.

Current Rating: Unchanged: 2nd

Political Stock: HOLD

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Rand http://i.huffpost.com/gen/1360018/thumbs/o-RAND-PAUL-facebook.jpgPaul:  News is out this week that Rand Paul is likely to declare for the presidency in the first few weeks of April (the date April 7 looks to be the consensus from most sources). Because Paul is a sitting Senator, he will have to declare earlier than most of the other names on the list (campaigning is difficult when the Senate is in session so Paul will likely have to declare during a lengthy recess… April or then the Summer). After securing a change to the Kentucky primary style that will allow Paul the opportunity to run for President while also running for Senate (an idiotic Kentucky law that will either get repealed or challenged in Court this year), Paul looks primed to start campaigning in full swing. The first major test of Paul’s candidacy will come when he releases financial records of the campaign at the end of the second quarter in the Summer. Most of the other candidates on the list will be able to rake in tons of cash without formal declarations (under federal election law, once you declare, tighter financing laws apply). So, an early declaration by Paul is either going to put him in the driver’s seat of the 2016 race or show that he has a lot of catching up to do on campaign cash.

Current Rating: Unchanged: 3rd

Political Stock: STRONG BUY

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Second Class Speculative Candidates, GOP

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http://d35brb9zkkbdsd.cloudfront.net/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/Marco-Rubio-Big-Smile-600x399.jpgMarco Rubio:  Rubio is now up from the Third Class into the Second Class. Like Senator Paul, the timing of Rubio’s official entry into the race for the White House is likely going to be dictated by the Senate schedule. Thus, Rubio will likely be declaring in the first few weeks of April (or he’ll have to wait into the summer when folks are on vacation and not paying attention to politics). Some news outlets are floating hit pieces on Rubio, so it will be interesting to see how he does with negative reporting. Otherwise, this week, Rubio has pressed forward on his hawkish message on Iran and is buffing up on his legislative credentials.

Current Rating: Unchanged: 4th

Political Stock: BUY

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Third Class Speculative Candidates, GOP

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http://media.salon.com/2013/05/ted_cruz2.jpgTed Cruz:  As with Rubio and Paul, Senator Cruz needs to be looking at early April for his declaration. Aside from allegedly making a small girl afraid, this week has seen Cruz building his grassroots network of conservative support. It remains to be seen what type of cash Cruz is bringing in and what effect his declaration will have on his campaign coffers. While candidates like Senator Paul have significant political infrastructures already built in Iowa and New Hampshire, it looks like Cruz may just be trying to win on rhetoric instead of a ground game. Only time will tell if Cruz can translate his talk into votes.

Current Rating: Unchanged: 5th

Political Stock: SELL

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John KFile:Governor John Kasich.jpgasich:  This week sees a big jump in the rankings for Kasich. While his political notoriety looks great on paper, he has not excited many in  either the establishment or conservative base. However, Kasich has made the overtures towards entering the 2016 race as a powerful sitting governor of a swing state with credentials that could get him the White House. Because he is looking more serious about the run, his stock is on the upswing. This is a departure from Kasich’s apparent nonchalance about 2016 recently (having not gone to CPAC). Kasich could very easily turn into the establishment’s fallback candidate in the event Jeb Bush just can’t get his campaign in gear.

Current Ranking: 6th, Up 4 spots from last week

Political Stock:  BUY

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File:Chris Christie 2011 Shankbone.JPGChris Christie: Christie has a long way to climb if he wants to get out of the pit of irrelevance he’s dug for himself over the past few years. While some are totally writing Christie off as a candidate in 2016, the fact that he’s hit bottom this early in the campaign may give him enough time to reassure donors and come back stronger than he was before. Sure, it’s unlikely, but as we’ve mentioned here before, Christie is owed a lot of favors by a lot of influential Republicans around the country. Only time will tell if he’s out.

Current Ranking: 7th, Up 2 spots 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 has been drawing a lot of criticism from the left in the past week for a whole host of comments he’s made. Realistically, Carson is a long shot at the nomination and an even longer shot at the Presidency. However, Carson is not afraid of debate and is popular among angry or disaffected conservatives. He’s also a very interesting choice for Secretary of Health and Human Services in the event a favorable candidate gets the nod from the American people in 2016.

Current Ranking: 8th, Down 2 spots 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: Mike Pence’s decline as the dark horse continues. Though he’d be an excellent contender for the job in 2016, the crowded field is raking in the cash and making inroads in early states. If Pence wants in on the action, he needs to get started now. Unless Pence is looking to stay above the fray and snipe the Vice Presidency, the Indiana Governor looks more and more unlikely to have his eyes set on the White House in 2016.

Current Ranking: 9th, Down 2 spots from last week

Political Stock: SELL

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File:Bobby Jindal by Gage Skidmore.jpgBobby Jindal: Louisiana is not looking so good. With the decline of his state, so too decline the once-promising national ambitions of Governor Jindal. While much of the criticism may just be politics and anti-Jindal rhetoric, having to fight Louisiana while campaigning nationally would be a major impediment to Jindal’s chances in the Republican primaries. Certainly his national prominence could bounce back over the next year, but as Jindal fights for his political survival in his home state, it looks like the White House is less and less feasible.

Current Ranking: 10th, Down 1 spot from last week

Political Stock:SELL

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http://fitsnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/graham.jpgLindsey Graham: Lindsey Graham is out of the Fourth Class, for now. He’s started to put together a campaign team as if he were actually considering a run for the presidency. It remains unclear if this is to make a bid for the White House or whether Graham just wants to be king of South Carolina and have the next president owe him favors in the Senate. Either way, Lindsey is making moves.

Current Ranking: 11th, Up 2 spots from last week

Political Stock: BUY

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Fourth Class Speculative Candidates, GOP

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

Carly Fiorina: Fiorina is still touting the anti-Hillary Clinton message and is seriously considering a bid for the White House. More than likely, Fiorina is courting a bid for the Vice Presidency. The big question is: how much money can Fiorina really raise to keep a campaign afloat. More than that, what can Fiorina bring to a ticket that makes her more lucrative than a sitting governor?

Current Ranking: 12th, Down 1 spot from last week

Political Stock: HOLD

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http://www.texaswatchdog.org/files/rickperry_5.jpgRick Perry: Rick Perry is all over Iowa this week and hoping to build his network to make a surprise showing in the first-in-the-nation Caucus. A strong campaigner, Perry has a long climb to fix his broken record and missteps from 2012.

Current Ranking: 13th, Down 1 spot from last week

Political Stock: HOLD

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http://c1355372.cdn.cloudfiles.rackspacecloud.com/4d77c29a-b959-4be9-8730-f88f56a2297a/RJSportrait.jpgRick Santorum: Rick Santorum has been playing to a friendly crowd in South Carolina this week. Looking to build his core of evangelical supporters, Santorum has been generally out of the spotlight. There’s a distinct chance this will be his last week on the rankings before falling down to the obscurity list, below.

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 is back in Iowa this week but is being justifiably dogged by his participation in scam infomercials.

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

We are not ranking Donald Trump. His proposed candidacy is a farce.

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