A number of Republican candidates for the 2016 presidential nomination have now formally declared or are poised to announce very soon. Here’s my assessment where each stands right now and how I see their strengths, weaknesses and prospects – at least at this moment.

Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush – his family has a record of winning elections and he has won perhaps the most important swing state twice. He has name recognition, money, clear leadership capacity, and the demeanor to be President. He also will raise a staggering amount of money. Given the GOP tradition of ultimately nominating the heir apparent or the most moderate candidate in the field, he wears both hats. But something doesn’t ring true just yet. He is being booed by the most ardent conservatives, his polling numbers are anemic (especially in both Iowa and New Hampshire) and he should be doing better for someone who represents an iconic name in the party. I give him 5-1 odds, but he should be in better shape.

Texas Senator Ted Cruz – I have already written about him ( here) but here is an update. He received a bump from his announcement and then raised a most impressive amount of money. His message is consistent and uncompromising – an essential ingredient in his brand. He is the party badass and without that he would not even be in the position to try a run. But badasses make noise, attract a lot of passion, and seldom get nominated. When they do – Barry Goldwater in 1964 and George McGovern in 1972 – they get trounced. Besides, if we see Cruz get some traction in Iowa, watch an ABC movement emerge quickly – “Anybody But Cruz” — from not only the establishment but also fellow conservatives. Senator Cruz does not play well with other children. For now, he is polling in the top of the second tier. Odds: 70-1

Kentucky Senator Rand Paul – I have also written about him. ( here). He was off to a good start – good announcement and an impressive looking family – but he slipped in the early days. Testy interviews, changed positions on foreign intervention, and a snide remark about safety in Baltimore are the kinds of things that can hurt the branding he needs to do. He, like his father, represents the purist libertarian/anti-statist wing of the party and he can have some good appeal to young voters and even some younger and professional African American voters. He has raised a solid amount of money and arguably has a great team, including experienced delegate bean counters. Odds: 15-1, but he will be a player.

Florida Senator Marco Rubio—Zogby Analytics’ poll in March 2015 ( here) was the first to show the Rubio’s potential, especially among GOP women. He is clearly in the top tier, especially after a most impressive kickoff. His uplifting message of hope and the renewal of the American Dream reminds us of a couple of young Senators in 1960 and 2008 who rose above the older establishment to win the White House. His family is youthful and telegenic, he is no doubt the best speaker in both parties. He should scare the Democrats because of his upbeat message and his ability to appeal to more Hispanics than any other potential nominee. But he is still green and untested. He did, however, make me look twice. Odds: 5-2.

Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee – not only can he win Iowa, he already has. He is an affable personality but represents a decidedly narrowing wing of the party. His message that is anti-gay marriage, anti-immigration, and militantly anti-abortion puts him at a disadvantage as a credible candidate in the general election. Besides, the field of social conservatives is pretty full this time. Odds: 70-1

Dr. Ben Carson – He is a bona fide American icon, as a neurosurgeon. He has emerged from a powerful benediction at a national prayer breakfast as a powerful, straight-talking, American Dream-believing, rock-ribbed social conservative. He can wow an audience but he has not mastered the one-on-one television interview by proving that he can truly discuss policy matter. If the debates provide him an opportunity to shine, he can stay in the second tier. But that may be hard to do in a one minute format, under closer scrutiny, and among a crowded field. But he has generated some buzz. Odds: 20-1

Former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina – strengths and weaknesses overlap and get muddle here. She is running as someone who has run a successful Fortune 500 company, but her critics have their knives ready to talk her failed experience there. She has risen from being a secretary to the top spot, but many say she has forgotten her early humbler days. She is most impressive at forums like Davos where she appears to be smart, ahead on technology and innovation. And she in fact does provide a gender option for GOP voters. Make no mistake: Carly Fiorina is most impressive in a debate, she is no nonsense. But she was an awful candidate for the Senate in California in 2010. If she gets some votes and doesn’t hurt herself, she could be on the 2016 ticket as VP. Odds: 60-1.

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker – He is, with Bush and Rubio, at the top of the first tier. He leads polls nationally, as well as in neighboring Iowa and New Hampshire. He has a powerful speech, one of which thrust him ahead of the pack back in January. He has an alternative governance model that is more than an ideology and he has won his state three times since 2010. But sometimes he says some dumb things. Can he hold up under scrutiny? Many states face deficits, including (to some) Wisconsin. Walker will blame the President. Can he take credit for a surplus and place blame elsewhere for a deficit? Stay tuned. Odd: 7-1.

I will include other candidates if they announce in the future.