The Democratic National Committee has unleashed relentless attacks on a handful of GOP candidates in the ever-widening 2016 presidential field, while virtually ignoring others.

Kentucky Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulAnti-Asian hate crimes bill overcomes first Senate hurdle Fauci on Tucker Carlson vaccine comments: 'Typical crazy conspiracy theory' Republicans need to stop Joe Biden's progressive assault on America MORE, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush have emerged as the DNC’s top punching bags, while the committee has mostly disregarded other campaigns — including that of businessman Donald TrumpDonald TrumpTrump mocks Murkowski, Cheney election chances Race debate grips Congress US reentry to Paris agreement adds momentum to cities' sustainability efforts MORE, who trails only Bush in some recent polls.

The Hill tallied the DNC's social media mentions of Republican presidential contenders, scanning press releases, tweets and Facebook posts from July 2014 through June 2015, to see whom the group has been hitting the most over the past year.

ADVERTISEMENT

Paul ranks as the DNC's top target, with 203 mentions. Christie follows with 202 attacks, and Bush trails closely behind him with 199.

With a slew of declared candidates and even more potential contenders, the DNC has spread its fire wide. The DNC has hit 17 potential Republican contenders over the last year.

That's a marked contrast from the 2012 cycle, when most attacks were aimed at Mitt Romney, who was seen as the likely GOP nominee early on.

Former Texas Gov. Rick PerryRick PerryOvernight Energy: Michigan reps reintroduce measure for national 'forever chemicals' standard |  White House says gas tax won't be part of infrastructure bill Trump alumni launch America First Policy Institute Senators urge Energy chief to prioritize cybersecurity amid growing threats MORE comes fourth in total mentions with 162, followed by Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioThe Memo: Biden puts 9/11 era in rear view Intelligence leaders push for mandatory breach notification law Intelligence leaders warn of threats from China, domestic terrorism MORE (R-Fla.), who were the target of 159 and 147 DNC statements or social media posts respectively. Also on the DNC's target list, Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzAnti-Asian hate crimes bill overcomes first Senate hurdle Senate GOP to face off over earmarks next week Biden's DOJ civil rights nominee faces sharp GOP criticism MORE (R-Texas) has 96 mentions.

A slew of longshot bids have also drawn punches from the DNC, with former Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina at 19, Dr. Ben CarsonBen CarsonCOVID-19 homelessness is a public health problem — it's about to get worse Marcia Fudge — 'The Fixer' — will take on HUD Biden administration buys 100,000 doses of Lilly antibody drug MORE with 15 mentions, Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamOVERNIGHT ENERGY: Senate confirms Mallory to lead White House environment council | US emissions dropped 1.7 percent in 2019 | Interior further delays Trump rule that would make drillers pay less to feds The Memo: Biden puts 9/11 era in rear view Senate confirms Biden's pick to lead White House environmental council MORE (R-S.C.) the target of 13, businessman Donald Trump at 10, and former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) garnering six mentions.

The large number of GOP candidates could pose a challenge for the DNC over where to direct their fire.

“The profusion of candidates and any drama their competition generates may suck attention away from Democrats as they attempt to define the 2016 election and recruit donors and volunteers,” said Michael Cornfield, research direct for Global Center for Political Engagement.

While Paul, Christie and Bush have drawn the most attention overall from the DNC, the group's targets have changed as Republican contenders enter the race and slide up and down in the polls. That's forced the DNC to keep their focus on a broad field.

“The DNC mentions GOP candidates whenever it sees a chance to highlight a difference between the two parties,” Cornfield added. “As manifest in something a leading GOP candidate said or something that just broke in the news.”

In July 2014, well before any declared candidates, Christie received the most GOP mentions with 10, but Paul garnered seven attacks and Walker six, reflecting their high standing in early GOP polls.

Christie, Paul and Walker dominated the DNC's targets the last six months of 2014, but with no emerging Republican frontrunner, Democrats hit a total of 18 potential contenders.

New candidates quickly drew the DNC's attention. Cruz took the top spot in March, when he became the first official major presidential contender, with 29 mentions. Cruz quickly vaulted to the top of the polls that month, but Walker, Paul, Bush and Rubio also saw their DNC mentions in the double digits.

But one candidate is garnering more and more of the DNC's attention. In the second half of 2014, the DNC hit Jeb Bush only 13 times, but in 2015 his mentions have surged.

The DNC has ramped up social media attacks on Bush each month this year. He received 19 hits in March, 35 in April, 46 in May and 57 in June.

Surprisingly in June, though, Paul still took the top spot, with the DNC knocking him a whopping 71 times.

GOP campaigns are taking those hits in stride, touting the attention as a sign they are viable threats.

“It should come as no surprise that the DNC is targeting Senator Rand Paul with their attacks — he is the single biggest threat to Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonWhy does Bernie Sanders want to quash Elon Musk's dreams? Republican legislators target private sector election grants How Democrats can defy the odds in 2022 MORE’s candidacy,” said Sergio Gor, communications director for Paul’s campaign.

The DNC, though, isn't letting up on the Republican presidential field.

“Let’s talk about some other numbers voters might be even more interested in," Holly Shulman, the DNC’s national press secretary, told The Hill.

"Nine is the number of credit downgrades in Chris Christie’s New Jersey. 48 percent is how much tuition climbed in Bush’s Florida. $2.2 billion is the budget deficit in Walker’s Wisconsin. Too many to count is the number of positions Rand Paul has taken on any given issue," she continued.

"And 100 percent of the Republican candidates want to repeal the Affordable Care Act that has helped 16 million Americans gain access to health insurance.”