Rand Paul’s 2013 has been pretty darn successful. So successful, in fact, that the junior senator from Kentucky has catapulted to the top of the GOP presidential nominee power rankings.
From Chris Cillizza of the Washington Post:
“1. Rand Paul: He’s not a clear front-runner. But, if you are looking for a candidate who can (a) raise the money, (b) has a clear and compelling message and (c) has an obvious edge in an early state (Iowa), then Paul is the only person in the top three who checks all three boxes. We repeat what we said above: Underestimate him at your own peril. (Previous ranking: 3)”
Cillizza has the top 10 ranked, with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio coming in second and third, respectively.
The Post‘s reasoning for ranking Paul so highly: He seems to be out in front on everything, leaving other Republicans to either follow or diverge – which means Paul is setting the tone.
“The first eight-plus months of 2013 have convinced us of one thing: Rand Paul acts and the rest of the potential 2016 Republican presidential field reacts…On drones, Paul led a 13-hour-long filibuster that drew Florida Sen. Marco Rubio (among others) to the floor in support.
On Syria, Paul was out front in his opposition to a military strike — a position that 30 of his Senate Republican colleagues shared as of this writing…Paul, in short, seems to be a step or two in front of the ongoing transformation of the Republican Party from a hawkish conservatism to a sort of populist libertarianism.”
Paul’s momentum has continued to pick up in recent weeks. A recent poll showed he was the front-runner for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, surpassing GOP players like Christie and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush for the first time.
Bush is also on the top 10 list from Cillizza, ranked fifth, with Wisconsin Sen. Paul Ryan taking fourth.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, Ohio Gov. John Kasich, and Indiana Gov. Mike Pence round out the top 10 on Cillizza’s list.
But all of them, from 2-10, rank clearly behind the man at the top right now. As Cillizza writes:
“No one in Republican politics has had a better year than Paul. And it’s not all that close.”
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