The field of GOP contenders for a seat in the Oval office stands at 14 at last count and keeps growing. In 2012 this turned the nomination process into a political circus with a new frontrunner each month. More of the same can be expected.

If past history is any guide, many will never get out of the starting gate or will stumble badly in the early going. Never mind the odds of winning—when the Presidency will have no incumbent from either party running for only the second time in a quarter century it is a wide open lottery.

In the new era of the “super PAC”, the most heavily financed candidates will have a prohibitive advantage with the total amount to be raised and spent estimated at a mind-numbing $10 billion!

The highly generous Right-leaning Koch brothers are expected to pour in close to $1 billion just on their own. In comparison, Hillary Clinton’s super PAC, Priorities USA Action, looks to raise no more than $300 million.

Thanks to the Supreme Court, there are no restrictions on so-called “dark money”—funds given to nonprofits able to receive unlimited donations from corporations, unions and individuals without needing to disclose their donors.

It is not stretching the truth to say that PACs have replaced Parties not only as the central bankrollers but as key formulators of campaign strategy to whom candidates must listen.

The leading beneficiaries at this stage are former Florida Governor, Jeb Bush, the GOP establishment favorite, and Wisconsin Governor, Scott Walker whose fierce opposition to collective bargaining for public employees, tax-slashing conservatism and unqualified anti-abortion stance has endeared him to the party base.

Joining them in the top tier is Florida’s junior Senator (and former Jeb Bush protégé) Marco Rubio, whose youth, Cuban heritage and excellent stump skills could project him as the frontrunner if he performs well in the early primaries.

In second tier, we have two returning candidates, former Arkansas Governor, Mike Huckabee, and Pennsylvania Senator, Rick Santorum. Both score high with the Evangelical Christian wing of their party which makes up about 54% of the Iowa electorate where the first-in-the nation caucuses are held. Santorum won there in 2012.

Further down in second tier, we have Ted Cruz, the firebrand Texas Senator and Tea Party favorite with Princeton and Harvard Law credentials who spent much of last year in a one-man campaign to shut down the government thereby alienating many fellow Republicans.

Texas Governor, Rick Perry, would need a dramatic makeover after his 2012 implosion along with New Jersey’s Gov. Chris Christie, once a rising star now fading fast because of legal troubles.

Maverick populist, Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, is pitching for the youth vote and backing from the technology sector that likes his less government philosophy but is at best a fringe candidate along with the anti-politician business executive, Carly Fiorina, the only GOP woman in the race.

Providing mainly entertainment value is Ben Carson, a retired Black neurosurgeon who equates America with Nazi Germany and declares Obama Care “the worst thing to happen in this nation since slavery.”

Garnering scant attention there is Bobby Jindal, the Louisiana Governor primarily remembered for his lame State of the Union Response in 2009 and John Kasich, Ohio’s Governor who idolized Richard Nixon.

And finally we have Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, John McCain’s best friend in the Senate who may see himself (along with several others) as a potential Vice Presidential running mate.

The Democratic line-up is so far a one-person affair featuring Hillary Clinton and California is Clinton territory where she beat Obama in 2008. It just expanded with the entry of little known Vermont Senator, Bernie Sanders, a self-proclaimed Democratic Socialist.

A draft Joe Biden movement has been launched in Iowa, and there are strong signs that Maryland Governor, Martin O’Malley will join the fray.

California’s Governor, Jerry Brown, is completing an unprecedented 4th term and has shown no shyness in running for president thrice before. However he would be 78 if he ran even making the still youthful-looking and energetic Clinton his junior by 10 years.

None appear to be serious threats to a Clinton nomination if she is not up-ended by unforeseen developments.

Given the attention both parties are paying to Immigration reform and Hispanic voters, there is early speculation that Julian Castro, Obama’s Housing and Urban Development Secretary, would get serious consideration as Clinton’s running mate. In electoral battlegrounds such as Colorado, Nevada, Florida and New Mexico that could be a game changer.