A new month brings a fresh listing of The Chase — The RUN’s rolling rankings of the most likely 2016 presidential nominees of each party.

The most significant changes come on the Republican side, where Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker have vaulted into the top-tier.

Paul grabs the #2 spot and Walker is on his heels at #3.  Sen. Marco Rubio retains his #1 ranking and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie stays in the #4 slot.

Dropping from the top-tier are Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.

Why Paul at #2?

The freshman libertarian had the hottest month in his party, achieving hero status for his 13-hour filibuster over the Obama administration’s drone policy and notching a victory in the Conservative Political Action Conference’s straw poll.  But Paul also showed his pragmatic side, endorsing a comprehensive approach to immigration reform even while he declined to explicitly back a “pathway to citizenship.”  Paul’s unorthodox approach coupled with his willingness to ruminate about his party’s flaws has stoked fresh, buoyant energy into the GOP.

Why Walker at #3?

Walker is coming off an aggressive March, openly speaking about his 2016 aspirations, delivering one of the most solid and well-received speeches at CPAC and ramping up his cross-country travel.   He spoke to 900 in Dallas, Texas in late March and will soon head to Iowa for what will be a highly anticipated address.  His hometown paper, The Milwaukee Sentinel-Journal gave him the presidential treatment over the weekend.  As Ryan’s star dims for the time being, it’s Walker who benefits — and he appears eager to seize the moment.

The only other change on the GOP side of The Chase was the addition of former Utah Gov. John Huntsman into the second tier and the removal of Indiana Gov. Mike Pence.  Huntsman has made more presidential moves as of late then Pence, who is immersed in his own legislative session.  Just last Thursday, the former U.S. ambassador to China spoke at the Ronald Reagan Library.

 

On the Democratic side of The Chase, the top-tier remains intact– Hillary Clinton, Vice President Joe Biden, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley.

The only change made was in Tier 2 — where Los Angeles Mayor Antonia Villaraigosa was replaced by Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano.  The change was made as the outgoing mayor indicated he’d like to be the governor of California one day, whereas Napolitano appeared to keep her presidential options open when asked about her political future.

 

Comments or suggestions on The Chase list — Who are in your top tiers?  Tweet me @davecatanese or Email me: dave@therun2016.com