Posted: 7:49 pm Sunday, April 26th, 2015
By Jamie Dupree
The first Saturday in May is almost here, which means the Kentucky Derby is about to arrive, and that seems like it’s a good time to handicap the field of those jockeying to run for President of the United States.
The race for the White House is much like the beginning of horse racing’s Triple Crown – a lot of horses can dash out of the starting gate at Churchill Downs on May 2 in Louisville (up to 20), but very few of them realistically have a chance to wear the blanket of roses in the winner’s circle on Derby Day.
In the race for the White House, a growing number of Republicans – and some Democrats – seem ready to enter the race, whether or not they have what others might believe is a legitimate chance to take the oath of office in January of 2017.
For fun, we’ll provide some odds, details and then, as in the Daily Racing Form, a quick comment describing where they stand in the race.
(If you are not familiar with horse racing, then you can see typical “comment lines” which are used to describe how a horse ran in a certain race at http://www.equibase.com/products/cc-comments.cfm.
Odds of winning nomination: 2-5. Clinton is the overwhelming favorite – right now – for the Democratic Party nomination. Her backers argue all the bubbling controversies in the press are nothing to worry about, but there are dissenting voices in the grandstand, as was seen over the weekend at the South Carolina Democratic Party convention. Clinton already has an organization that dwarfs her fellow Democrats in the 2016 race. Then again, favorites don’t always win.
Odds of winning nomination: 75-1. The former Maryland Governor, who was at last year’s Preakness Stakes, is trying his best to be more than just a fly that Hillary Clinton has to swat from time to time. O’Malley’s argument is simple – there needs to be a real race for the Democratic nomination, not just a walkover for Clinton.
COMMENT: Broke Slowly.
Odds of winning nomination: 250-1. The former U.S. Senator from Virginia has also been making noise about the need to give Hillary Clinton some competition for the Democratic Party nomination, but seems to be a few strides behind O’Malley at this point.
COMMENT: Slow Early.
ALSO ELIGIBLE: Elizabeth Warren
If the Senator from Massachusetts were to decide to get in the Democratic nomination fight, we would have – forgive the phrase – a real horse race. There is an unsettled feeling among Democrats that Hillary Clinton just isn’t ‘the right person.’ But for now, Warren remains on the sidelines.
COMMENT: Left Handed Urging.
Odds of winning nomination: 9-2. While many thought Bush’s early signal that he would get in the race would muscle out other entrants, that really hasn’t happened. Bush certainly will have more than enough money to dominate other GOP candidates, but there is no feeling that Jeb Bush is the overwhelming favorite who will win the GOP nomination, no matter what. Still, he certainly has the pedigree for these kind of political battles and will be considered by some as a “horse for course.” COMMENT: Set Pressured Pace.
Odds of winning nomination: 5-1. The Governor of Wisconsin is not in the race officially as yet, but he has been up in the top tier of most polls for months and has been actively moving to gather support in key states. Walker’s plan is to finish his state’s budget work by early summer, and then jump in the race. He is expected to be able to raise significant resources and has attracted supported in all corners of the country.
COMMENT: Well Placed.
Odds of winning nomination: 6-1. The first term Senator from Florida got a big boost in the polls after recently announcing his plans to seek the White House, and is seen by many as a candidate with a lot of growth possibilities. The Derby crowd loves a horse with decent odds that seems to be growing in ability by early May. Doubters in the paddock argue that Rubio should have run in the Lexington Stakes instead of the Kentucky Derby.
COMMENT: Vied For Lead, Gaining.
Odds of winning nomination: 7-1. The Senator from the Bluegrass State would love nothing more than to circle the field and throw some dirt in the faces of the other horses in this race. Look for Paul’s foreign policy views to be the focus of attacks from his GOP rivals, much as other Republicans attacked Paul’s father in 2008 and 2012. Can Paul draw anything from Claiborne Farms and other famous horse breeders in his home state of Kentucky? We’ll see.
COMMENT: Full Of Run.
Odds of winning nomination: 8-1. While the Senator from Texas may not be on a lot of “win” tickets in the Republican race, many expect he will certainly have a voice in the battle for the GOP nomination. Cruz has already shown he can raise a lot of money and will probably not go quietly in urging a more conservative edge for Republicans in 2016.
COMMENT: Right Handed Urging.
Odds of winning nomination: 15-1. Six months ago, Christie loomed as a big player in the GOP race, but his poll numbers have gone the wrong way for a variety of reasons. Still, the signs are that the New Jersey Governor will get in the GOP battle, most likely with hopes of doing well in the New Hampshire Primary. Some morning clockers see Christie as an allowance threat at Monmouth Park, not in the big races to come. COMMENT: Shuffled Back.
Odds of winning nomination: 25-1. Huckabee was a player in 2008 and seems ready to run again. While he did win in Iowa, Huckabee was not able to translate that into a broadly based challenge in other states. Sometimes, the winner of the Arkansas Derby runs a good race in the Kentucky Derby; sometimes those horses finish up the track. Huckabee is slated to announce his candidacy in Hope, Arkansas the Tuesday after the Kentucky Derby.
COMMENT: Forced Wide.
Odds of winning nomination: 40-1. Perry is trying to get back to the point where he was in 2012, when the GOP nomination seemed to be sitting on a plate, waiting for him to seize it. The former Texas Governor has been quietly going around the country in recent months, working to lay the groundwork for a 2016 bid, but he hasn’t made much headway in the national polls as yet.
COMMENT: Pinched Back.
Odds of winning nomination: 100-1. The rest of the GOP field at this time has an array of different names, from Carly Fiorina to Ben Carson, John Kasich and more. We’ll see if any of them can break out of the pack.
Just about every year, there can be a surprise horse that will emerge in horse racing’s Triple Crown. In two weeks, we might be talking about a different group of horses just before the Preakness.
The same can certainly be said about those running for President – give us a few weeks or a few months, and you never know what the Daily Racing Form of politics might show.
They’re all in line.
And, they’re off.
About the Author
Jamie Dupree is the Radio News Director of the Washington Bureau of the Cox Media Group and writes the Washington Insider blog. A native of Washington, D.C., Jamie has covered Congress and politics in the nation’s capital since the Reagan Administration, and has been reporting for Cox since 1989.