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August 2023 Republican Presidential Power Rankings
What number will be larger; the number of Trump Indictments, or the number of time Trump debates in the primary?
Welcome to the latest installment of The Duckpin Republican Presidential Power Rankings. These rankings will list, in my estimation, the contenders for the Republican nomination for President on a 1……18(!) scale. This list will be updated every month; maybe more once we get to later in the year.
The rankings are a combination of polls, data, political environment, and gut feelings. It is not necessarily a ranking in order of who I think should be the Republican nominee, but who is best positioned to win the nomination at that time. Think of it as a snapshot in time. Especially considering at least two candidates are still pussyfooting around with the idea of running.
#18: E.W. Jackson (VA): (Previous: NR)
Remember this guy, the 2013 Virginia nominee for Lieutenant Governor and two-time failed U.S. Senate candidate? Mr. “Yoga leads to Satanism” himself? He’s running too. Why? Why not, I guess.
#17: Ryan Binkley (TX): (Previous: 17)
Binkley is a tech executive and pastor out of Texas who seems to be running a vaguely legitimate campaign for President. His campaign is making six-figure ad buys in Iowa and his message should play well to Evangelical voters who are very likely to participate in the Iowa Caucuses. Given that he is going all in on Iowa (where he currently polls at 1%) he better overperform there, though he is venturing to New Hampshire this week.
#16: Perry Johnson (MI): (Previous: 16)
Johnson is a businessman who attempted to run for Governor of Michigan but was disqualified from the ballot for submitting fraudulent signatures needed for ballot access. He’s employing a unique strategy in order to get on the stage for the August 23rd Republican debate; selling t-shirts for $1 and counting them as one of the 40,000 unique small donations necessary to qualify. Will it work? Probably not, but it’s at least a unique way to try and push past the arcane debate qualification rules that help establishment candidates like Trump and DeSantis.
#15: Ex-Secretary of State Corey Stapleton (MT): (Previous: 15)
Fun fact: Corey Stapleton has lost four out of five statewide elections he has run in Montana. But decided in November to run for President anyway. He also has been releasing country music, too. Live your best life, man.
#14: Ex-Mayor Steve Laffey (CO): (Previous: 14)
Steve Laffey was Mayor of Cranson, Rhode Island from 2003-2007 before losing the U.S. Senate Primary to Lincoln Chaffee in 2006. He has run for office a few times in Colorado since moving there a while ago. But he too threw his hat in to run for President.
#13: Larry Elder (CA): (Previous: 13)
Elder for America was a sponsor at CPAC Texas, so the announcement that Elder was running for President surprised nobody. Why else would a talk show host and failed gubernatorial candidate be spending that kind of scratch? Is this going to be a Dale Peterson-type campaign? Or something legitimate?
#12: Miami Mayor Francis Suarez (FL): (Previous: NR)
He’s back, which gives us two Florida Republicans under investigation now running for President. Of course, Suarez voted for Democrat Andrew Gillum instead of Ron DeSantis in the 2018 election for a very pathetic reason.
#11. Former Congressman Will Hurd (TX) (Previous: 9)
Hurd was only a three-term Congressman, but he also is a veteran CIA operative and a critic of Trumpism within the party. As foreign policy and national security become more important issues heading toward 2024, Hurd is well-positioned to take advantage of both his national security bona fides as well as his anti-Trump stance. Hurd also made no commitments to support the GOP nominee in 2024, so that will keep him off the stage of any RNC-controlled debates. He better have a plan to overcome that or else this is just an exercise to sell books.
#10: Governor Doug Burgum (ND): (Previous: 11)
Last month I poo-pooed Burgum’s impending announcement. But he looks like he is going to run a serious campaign and is heavily investing his own wealth into primary ads in the early states. Will it translate? Who knows. But he used that wealth to qualify for the first Republican Debate, which is a unique way to sidestep the RNC’s goofy rules.
#9: Governor Glenn Youngkin (VA) (Previous: 10)
Youngkin is this year’s Mario Cuomo, pulling the Hamlet act until people stop caring anymore…
#8: Vivek Ramaswamy (OH): (Previous: 8)
I’ll be honest, I had absolutely no idea who the hell this guy was until he started talking about a run and ultimately announced. I still don’t know very much except he is a billionaire, is against “wokeism” and the ESG framework. It’s the part where he is a billionaire where, in the modern social media driven political market, can take him from being a nobody into being a contender. Though billionaires from Morry Taylor to Michael Bloomberg have run for President with no success. Ramaswamy seems like a guy who wants to drive the conversation more so than somebody with delusions of actually winning. But I’m not sure “I am in this race to take the America First agenda further than Donald Trump ever did” as a message is going to go very far. Nor is raising the voting age to 25. But I’m sure that Republican voters will love the fact that he worked for George Soros. Or his rap career.
#7: Former Gov. Asa Hutchinson (AK) (Previous: 7)
He’s running for President, which is still a bit of a surprise to me. Some think Hutchinson is the ideal Republican candidate. I question that after seeing what the modern Republican Party has become. But Republicans have done worse, and almost certainly will in 2024.
#6: Former Governor Nikki Haley (SC): (Previous: 6)
Inflating your campaign finance number is not something anything resembling a strong campaign does. Haley does not seem like she’s going to make it terribly far. Haley disqualified herself in the eyes of many who might have been persuaded to vote for her when she said she would support Trump were he to be nominated again.
#5: Former Vice President Mike Pence (IN) (Previous: 4)
The longer goes on without Pence making a splash, the harder it is going to be to gain any traction to stay in the top tier. I mean, he’s a former Vice-President and is a household name in the GOP. You can’t say he’s left for dead already, but it’s getting late early out there.
#4 Gov. Ron DeSantis (FL) (Previous: 3)
Remember when I said that Ron DeSantis looked unbeatable? I’m not sure he makes it to New Hampshire anymore. A third of the staff was cut. Nazi imagery was used. He got into a car accident in Tennessee while campaigning but was in a Florida state government car. He suggested he could appoint Democrat Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. as head of the FDA or the CDC before backtracking. Ron DeSantis seems like he’s campaigning solely to Trump voters. There is no way he can pivot to a general election after some of the crazy stuff he’s said. Right now, this looks like a campaign starting to circle the drain.
#3: Former Gov. Chris Christie (NJ) (Previous: 4)
Christie keeps moving up the list because he may be one of the last men standing. He has been very aggressive with his Republican opponents, notably Trump. I’m not sure today’s Republican electorate is gonna go with it, but he is better poised to go far than most of the field right now.
#2: Sen. Tim Scott (SC) (Previous: 4)
Many have said that Tim Scott is the one to watch. The fact that Oracle billionaire Larry Ellison is ready to spend tens of millions on Scott’s behalf in SuperPAC spending means that the greater Scott infrastructure will have plenty of money to keep him afloat. This could very well be a “slow and steady wins the race” situation if Scott can keep his head above water.
#1: Ex-President Donald Trump (FL) (Previous: 1)
We’re at three series of indictments if you are scoring at home, now that Trump was indicted today on Conspiracy and Obstruction Charges.
At what point will voters say ENOUGH!? Well, we’re clearly not to that point yet. But we should be.
Dropped Out: None