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Saturday, June 06, 2015

Graham and Pataki and Perry, Oh My!

In the month since my last post, we've seen several new candidates enter the contest.

In the Democratic Primary, already official were prohibitive favorite Hillary Clinton, prohibitive underdog Bernie Sanders, and prohibitive afterthought Lincoln Chafee.  Last week, Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley, who had long been rumored to be running, officially announced his candidacy.  Like Sanders, O'Malley has positioned himself on Clinton's left.  (Elizabeth's Warren decision not to run opened the door for both of them to take up her liberal banner, but it remains to be seen how many bannermen rush to their side.) His speech attacked Wall Street, bank bailouts, the collapse of the American Dream, and the Bush/Clinton hegemony. ("The presidency is not a crown to be passed back and forth by you between two royal families.")

O'Malley odds on nomination--15:1 (more odds on left sidebar)

Remaining realistic candidates for the Democratic nomination only include Vice-President Joe Biden, who has likely read the tea leaves, and former Virginia Senator Jim Webb who has formed an exploratory committee.

In contrast to the handful of Democratic candidates who will pretend that their nomination is not decided, the GOP's field is far more crowded and will grow increasingly so.  By the end of April, we already had senators Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, and Marco Rubio. On May the 4th they were joined by Dr. Ben Carson and Carly Fiorina; the next day Mike Huckabee made it a half dozen official Republican candidates.

With the exception of Rubio, whom I slot fourth in likelihood to be the nominee, the field so far lacks the strongest contenders.  Nevertheless, by the end of May, these mid-tier candidates soon had company from a tier on which they'll tap dance for the next six months.  These bottom feeders include the new candidacies of 2012 Republican runner-up Rick Santorum, South Carolina Senator and model/actress Lindsey Graham, and former New York Governor George Pataki, who, once this gargantuan field rounds out, might not even get into a debate, which can only be a good thing for his candidacy.

Then just two days ago, the new and improved (maybe?) Rick Perry threw his hat in the ring.  The party wanted to run to him last time around but for three reasons, not the least of which was Oops, they didn't.  Maybe this time?

Pataki and Graham are non-starters.  Santorum is an interesting conversation.  Seeing him and Mike Huckabee go at it will be fascinating.  In the last two Republican primaries, both were Iowa winners and ultimate runners up to the establishment candidates--Huckabee to John McCain in 2008 and Santorum to Mitt Romney in 2012.  Not only that, but Ted Cruz and Ben Carson are going after that same constituency as well.  For that reason, I had to adjust down the odds of all four of those candidates, including Santorum now at 30:1 for the nomination.  As for the other new entries:

Lindsey Graham--50:1
George Pataki--100:1
Rick Perry--20:1

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