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Eye On Candidates
February 13, 2015

The ‘POLITICO Caucus’ Unveiled

By Sean Parnell

Those looking to follow the 2016 presidential nomination fight just gained a valuable tool, the ‘POLITICO Caucus,’ courtesy of Politico, a Washington, DC based newspaper that covers politics. Here’s how they describe it:

More than 100 of the most plugged-in activists, operatives and elected officials in Iowa and New Hampshire have agreed to answer a weekly survey over the next year, which will be published here every Friday. It’s a diverse mix of powerful figures from across the political spectrum, including party chairmen, members of Congress, radio hosts and rising stars who command loyal followings.The insiders are immersed in the nomination battles and their views could be a leading indicator of where the polls are heading. The vast majority of those who are participating are not committed to a candidate yet, though some are playing key roles on the burgeoning campaigns…

The insights from the debut survey include coverage or at least a mention of Gov. Scott Walker, Sec. Hillary Clinton, Gov. Jeb Bush, Sen. Marco Rubio, Sen. Rand Paul, Dr. Ben Carson, Gov. Rick Perry, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Gov. Martin O’Malley, Sen. Jim Webb, Sen. Bernie Sanders, Vice President Joe Biden, Sen. Ted Cruz, Sen. Rick Santorum, Gov. Bobby Jindal, and Gov. Mike Huckabee.

Top billing for today goes to Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush:

Jeb Bush and Scott Walker are fighting for front-runner status. But neither has it.Asked whether there’s a GOP front-runner, most Republican insiders answered, “no.” The field is stronger than in 2012, and anyone from a handful of candidates could emerge as the nominee, they believe.Walker got a big boost from his breakout speech at an event put on last month by Iowa Rep. Steve King in Des Moines. But the insiders are keenly aware he remains untested outside Wisconsin.Bush is a bigger media draw, enjoys higher name ID and has access to more money than any other GOP candidate. For these reasons, one New Hampshire Republican said he is the front-runner “simply by default.”

Others on the right argued that none of these advantages is enough to make Bush a “real” front-runner in the way that Mitt Romney was at this stage in 2012. “It’s too early,” said one of the GOP respondents from New Hampshire. “There’s a lot of kicking of tires yet to happen.”

An Iowa Republican remarked, “This is the most wide open contest I have ever seen.”

I suspect this is going to become a ‘must read’ every Friday for anyone following the 2016 race!