During four of my most productive career years that started when I was hired as the public relations honcho at the only year-round horse racing track in North America (in Tijuana, Mexico), I learned that horse race favorites actually don't win most of the time.

Fast forward to 2015, and there is a gaggle of potential Republican candidates for president to run in 2016 — probably against Hillary Clinton, who is the runaway favorite for the Democratic Party nomination, just like she was in 2008. We know what happened then.

The 2016 Republican nomination appears to be far more valuable in 2016 than in 2008. It comes at the end of another eight-year-rotation the country has settled into since 1992. Eight years of a Democrat means, to me, "adios, Democrats," just as the eight George W. Bush years meant "adios" to Republicans.


Interestingly, there are some new factors to consider when looking at 2016.

The average age of most GOP candidates is younger than normal. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioFive years after the Pulse nightclub massacre the fight for LGBTQ+ rights continues Rubio calls on Biden to 'forcefully' confront Iran over movement of war ships Bipartisan lawmakers want Biden to take tougher action on Nicaragua MORE is 43 and Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzBiden tries to erase Trump's 'America First' on world stage Cotton, Pentagon chief tangle over diversity training in military GOP senators press Justice Department to compare protest arrests to Capitol riot MORE 44. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulFauci to Chelsea Clinton: The 'phenomenal amount of hostility' I face is 'astounding' GOP's attacks on Fauci at center of pandemic message Fox host claims Fauci lied to Congress, calls for prosecution MORE is 52 and former Jeb Bush is 62. One must be at least 35 to run for president. Hillary Clinton will be 69.

Many candidates are sitting governors with Bush being a former two-term governor of Florida. The younger candidates tend to be U.S. senators. In fact three, Marco Rubio (Fla.), Ted Cruz (Texas) and Rand Paul (Ky.) are first-termers who have no executive experience like the governors. One, Dr. Ben CarsonBen CarsonGovernment indoctrination, whether 'critical' or 'patriotic,' is wrong Noem takes pledge to restore 'patriotic education' in schools Watchdog blames Puerto Rico hurricane relief delays on Trump-era bureaucracy MORE, has no public or political experience, yet he rates well in many polls.

The governors tend to also be young, in their forties or fifties. Among them, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is getting much attention because he not only survived three rough elections in Democratic Wisconsin in four years; he romped. He single-handedly took on the entire American labor union movement and politically handled it with ease. He is following up with a right-to-work law he says he will sign in coming days.

At the same time, Ohio Gov. John Kasich, 62, is making noises about running and is coming off a smashing reelection bid where he even carried normally Democratic counties. He is doing his pre-campaigning on television with lengthy interviews, during which he talks about cutting taxes, creating jobs and winning votes from Democrats. His point is that he won’t promise to do these things — he has done them. 10 to one for the nomination.

Another factor is the presence of the ultra-conservative Tea Party types who flexed their muscles in the current flap over immigration and the Department of Homeland Security funding. In the long run, however, they will not prove potent enough on a national basis. They favor Cruz and Paul. Neither of these men has enough financial or vote potential to win the nomination. Tea Partyers will argue with that assessment, but their lack of political and financial depth sentences those two senators to little chance of being nominated. Odds of being nominated are 25 to one.

Joining them, and popular at the recent CPAC (Conservative Political Action Conference) meeting, is Carson with no political experience whatsoever. He should have run for the open Senate seat in Michigan last November, won that election and built some political and government experience before he started talking about being president. Odds of being nominated are 50 to one.

Also at CPAC was New Jersey Gov. Chris ChristieChris ChristieSocially-distanced 'action figure' photo of G7 leaders goes viral Just 10 percent in NJ poll would like to see Christie run for White House in 2024 Christie says he won't defer to Trump in 2024 MORE, who appeared to have a terrific shot at the nomination when he ran through his reelection two years ago. His political problems seem to have buried his chances. Odds of being nominated are 25 to one.

Former Sen. Rick Santorum (Pa.). The odds of being nominated are 100 to one.

Now, the real candidates.

Bush appears to be winning the hearts and minds of the money people. Tapping into his family's 70 years of national fundraising and super wealthy Presidents Bush-appointed former ambassadors, Cabinet and sub-Cabinet members and beyond-rich Wall Street, real estate and industrial magnates, Bush is raking in the "mother's milk of politics." His early pre-announcement jump started the campaign and his fundraising shows that. Odds of being nominated are three to one.

Walker came in second in the CPAC poll (a meaningless poll), which demonstrates some traction. His mouth, however, needs some political coaching to keep him from making gaffes that the media will kill him with. The real question: Can he raise money? Odds are three to one.

Rubio appears to be everyone’s second choice. He's fresh, he's smart, his story is saleable, and he's young. He can raise money. Odds of being nominated are three to one.

Former Fortune 100 CEO Carly Fiorina gave a great CPAC speech. Can she win the nomination? I don't think so. But I would rank her high for vice president, as high as Rubio for vice president if he isn't nominated for president.

Right now, I'd put money on Bush, Walker, Rubio for the presidential nomination and Kasich as the long shot. That doesn't make Bush, Rubio or Walker favorites; it only means that they stand better chances than the others.

Contreras formerly wrote for Creators Syndicate and the New American News Service of The New York Times Syndicate.