Difference between revisions of "Possible U.S. presidential candidates, 2016"

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*Julian Castro
*Julian Castro

Revision as of 12:08, 5 March 2014

This page will follow the top possible 2016 United States Presidential candidates, according to USA Today's "The Road to 2016." This page will be updated to reflect current news and any new candidates.

USA Today's top candidates

USA Today's "The Road to 2016" covers top presidential candidates. Below are the candidates they have labeled as potential candidates:[1]




Democratic candidate news

Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton official Secretary of State portrait crop.jpg
See also: Hillary Clinton

On September 5, 2014, Clinton announced she would make a decision about her presidential candidacy after January 1, 2015. She stated, "I am going to be making a decision … probably after the first of the year about whether I’m going to run again or not."[2]
However, the Ready for Hillary Super PAC was formed in January 2013 to lay the groundwork for Clinton's candidacy. The PAC and Clinton's spokesperson have denied any contact between the two regarding a possible run.[3] According to an August 29, 2013 Washington Post report, the super PAC Priorities USA, a main fundraiser for Barack Obama's re-election campaign, is positioning itself to be the main media and advertising arm for a Clinton campaign in 2016.[4][5] When the U.S. was in its formative years, a secretary of state ascending to the presidency was commonplace, but the last secretary of state to be elected to the nation's highest office was James Buchanan in 1856.[6]


Clinton visited Iowa on September 14, 2014, for the first time since losing her presidential primary bid in 2008, as a headliner to Sen. Tom Harkin's final steak fry before his retirement.[7][8] As a previous U.S. secretary of state, she also gained extensive foreign affairs experience. Since retiring, she has been an active speaker around the country.[9] Both Hillary and Bill Clinton actively sought support of African Americans during 2013, speaking at Howard University's commencement ceremony, at the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, at political strategist Bill Lynch's and former Representative William H. Gray III's memorial services and to the Delta Sigma Theta sorority. Their speeches often touched on the issue of voting rights since the Supreme Court's ruling, striking down part of the Voting Rights Act in June 2013.[10]

Clinton announced on July 4, 2014, that all of the speaking fees from events at colleges and universities since she stepped down as secretary of state have been donated to the Clinton Foundation.[11]

2014 midterm support

Clinton's team announced an extensive tour throughout the U.S. leading up to the 2014 midterm elections with the purpose of helping the Senate maintain a Democratic majority and to show her support in key 2016 presidential states. Scheduled stops included campaigning for Alison Lundergan Grimes (KY), a family friend of the Clintons through Grimes' father, Bruce Braley (IA), Staci Appel (IA), Sens. Kay Hagan (D-NC) and Mark Udall (D-CO), Senate challenger Michelle Nunn and at a New Hampshire women's candidate event for Sen. Jeanne Shaheen and Governor Maggie Hassan.[12]

Additionally, she planned to both attend and host fundraisers for various candidates, including one hosted by major Barack Obama donor Jeffrey Katzenburg in California.[12]

"Hard Choices" memoir

On June 10, 2014, Clinton released a new book, titled "Hard Choices." The book focuses on Clinton's four years as Barack Obama's Secretary of State. She began a months-long book tour upon its release including speaking events and television appearances. Some notable events during the book tour were as follows:

  • When discussing the book the day prior to its release, Clinton defended the high speaking fees she collects because when Bill Clinton's presidency she claimed the family "came out of the White House not only dead broke but in debt." Pro-Republican research group American Rising attacked the comments, suggesting they "reveal someone who is extremely out of touch with financial reality facing Americans."[13]
Media mentions
  • Both CNN and NBC cancelled film plans on the life of Clinton in September 2013. CNN planned to film a documentary until the director, Charles Ferguson, dropped out of the project. NBC cancelled a mini-series in early stages of development. Both companies felt pressure from the Republican National Committee who believed the networks were putting their "thumb on the scales" for the 2016 election.[14]
  • The production company Lionsgate announced talks to film a movie which, "portrays Rodham as a young lawyer on the committee involved in President Richard Nixon's impeachment, as well as shows her juggling a diverging career path with her unresolved feelings for future president Bill Clinton." James Ponsoldt was rumored to be named as a potential director.[15]
  • Clinton made the cover of TIME magazine in January 2014 with the title of the article being "Can Anyone Stop Hillary?"[16]

Public statements about possible run

  • October 4, 2013: Clinton hinted at a timeline for announcing a run. "I want to think seriously about it; I probably won’t begin thinking about it until sometime next year. I will think about it because it’s something on a lot of people’s minds. And it’s on my mind as well. But I want us to think more broadly," Clinton said.[17]
  • October 31, 2013: According to sources in attendance at a reception in Scotland earlier in October, Clinton remained noncommittal about a run. When asked by reporters about a possible run, Clinton replied: "I haven’t made up my mind yet." When her answer was sarcastically called unsatisfactory, Clinton added: "Yes, it is unsatisfactory. I'm minded to do it."[18]
  • November 21, 2013: During a speech in Philadelphia, a heckler yelled, "Hillary '16!" Clinton responded by stating, "That’s funny. Well there are some hecklers that I would never say anything bad about."[19]
  • September 5, 2014: While addressing a crowd in Mexico, Clinton claimed, "I do have a unique vantage point and set of experiences about what makes the United States operate well and what doesn't, and what a president can do and should be doing."[20]

Comments on possible campaign

  • On August 11, 2014, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) claimed he wasn't comfortable the public's endorsement of Clinton as the next Democratic presidential candidate, explaining, "I’m not quite sure that the political process is one in which we anoint people."[21]
  • On May 22, 2014, Sen. Debbie Stabenow, (D-MI) announced her endorsement of Clinton for the presidency, stating, "We need President Hillary Clinton. That's why I am honored to formally announce my renewed and unreserved support for Clinton as she considers a 2016 presidential bid."[22]
  • President Barack Obama commented on both Clinton and Joe Biden when asked to compare them on December 6, 2013, stating, "both Hillary and Joe would make outstanding presidents, and possess the qualities that are needed to be outstanding presidents."[23]
  • On November 4, 2013, Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus stated the RNC is focusing on Clinton as the Democratic opponent in 2016, saying, "I think that we have to be very aggressive on what she’s done or hasn't done. And the things that she is famous for, like a botched health care rollout in the '90s, and Benghazi, and the things that she is involved with that are or went obviously pretty badly, we need to focus in on."[24]
  • Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel stated, "I'm behind Hillary if she runs. And I think she will. But that's up to her. If she runs, I'm in," on October 30, 2013.[25]
  • Sen. John McCain, (R-AZ) commented on a potential Clinton run for the presidency, stating, "I think she would be viewed by anyone, Republican or Democrat, as a very formidable candidate for 2016," on October 28, 2013.[26]
  • Sen. Claire McCaskill, (D-MO) stated, "Now, as I look at 2016 and think about who is best to lead this country forward, I’m proud to announce that I am Ready for Hillary," in support of the Ready for Hillary Super PAC on June 18, 2013.[27]
  • On November 3, 2013, Sen. Chuck Schumer, (D-NY) said of the Democratic Party's presidential chances, "With a strong platform and with Hillary leading the charge, we will vanquish the Ted Cruz, Tea Party Republicans in 2016 and create a generation of Democrats who will make sure the middle class gets what it needs, our country advances and the torch held by that beautiful lady in New York’s harbor burns more brightly than ever."[28]
  • Potential Republican candidate Rand Paul (R-KY) criticized Clinton in an August 24, 2014 interview, calling her a "war hawk." He stated, "I think that’s what scares the Democrats the most is that in a general election, were I to run, there’s going to be a lot of independents and even some Democrats who say we are tired of war, we’re worried that Hillary Clinton is going to get us into another Middle Eastern war because she’s so gung ho. If you want to see a transformational election in our country, let the Democrats put forward a war hawk like Hillary Clinton and you’ll see a transformation like you’ve never seen."[29]


  • On January 12, 2013, a list of Clinton's "enemies" from her 2008 presidential campaign was made public by the publishers of the book, HRC: State Secrets and the Rebirth of Hillary Clinton. Included on the list were then-Senators John Kerry and Ted Kennedy as well as current Sen. Claire McCaskill.[30]


Murdoch donations

Going back to Bill Clinton's terms as president, News Corp., owned by Rupert Murdoch, has given over $3 million to the Clintons' political campaigns. He also held a fundraiser for Hillary during her 2006 campaign for the Senate. When asked if he would vote Clinton if she ran for president, Murdoch said, "It would depend on the Republican candidate. I could live with Hillary as president."[31]

Ready for Hillary

The Ready for Hillary Super PAC has been organizing events across the country to garner support for a possible Clinton campaign. As of November 7, 2013, the team of 30 people has received donations from over 20,000 people. Operations began in January 2013.[32][33] The super PAC raised over $4 million in 2013 and finished the year with $784,640 cash on hand after taking expenditures into account.[34]

Public opinion polls

See also: Early presidential polling, 2016 and Presidential straw polls, 2016
  • According to an NBC poll released November 12, 2013, pitting Clinton against Chris Christie, 44% of adults supported Clinton while 34% supported Christie.[35]
  • Consulting company YouGov reported December 2, 2013, that for the first time in 2013, more people hold an unfavorable opinion of her than hold a favorable one. The poll claimed 48% do not hold a favorable view, while 46% view her favorably.[36]
  • A poll conducted on December 11, 2013, by Quinnipiac showed New Jersey Governor Chris Christie leading a hypothetical election by 1%. The results showed 42% of Americans supported Christie, while 41% supported Clinton. However, in a matchup between Clinton and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, Clinton polled at 48% to Paul's 41%.[37]
  • A McClatchy-Marist poll released December 11, 2013, showed Clinton defeating likely Democratic challenger Joe Biden 65% to 12%.[37]
  • According to a Quinnipiac poll released January 21, 2013, Clinton led Christie with 46% supporting Clinton while 38% supported Christie.[38]
  • In a Washington Post-ABC News poll released on April 29, 2014, Clinton led Republican Jeb Bush in a general election poll with 53% support to Bush's 41%.[39]
  • A Granite State Poll in New Hampshire released October 9, 2014, showed Clinton receiving 58 percent of the vote with Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) getting 18 percent of the voters' support.[40]

Joe Biden

Joe Biden.jpg
See also: Joe Biden

In an interview on February 7, 2014, Biden stated, There’s no obvious reason for me why I think I should not run."[41] He has experience working in New Hampshire and Iowa as both a presidential candidate in 2008 and as a vice presidential candidate in 2012.[9] However, only nine vice presidents have been elected to serve as president. Of those nine, only four were elected directly after their term as vice president.[42] Biden has run in two other presidential primary races.[43]


Biden visited Iowa on September 17, 2014, days after fellow potential Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton to give the headline speech for the Nuns on the Bus bus tour, as part of an official White House visit to the state. He headlined Sen. Tom Harkin's fish fry in 2013, but Clinton was chosen as the keynote speaker in 2014.[44] It was reported in August 2013, that Biden and his team were discussing starting a political action committee to begin fundraising efforts for a 2016 presidential bid. Using the PAC Biden would be able to financially support certain candidates in the midterm elections, solidifying support for his own run.[45]

2014 cycle fundraising

Leading into the 2014 midterm elections, Biden staged "secret" fundraisers during official speaking visits across the country. The closed-door meetings allowed Biden to keep in contact with and show support for important Democratic figures throughout the United States. In order to keep the meetings quick, Biden told local members of Congress or candidates how many people he would have time to see and a "photo line" was formed of the invited donors and supporters, allowing each to have a picture with the vice president.[46]

In mid-October 2014, Biden scheduled a West Coast tour, planning stops to support Democratic challenger for California's 21st District Amanda Renteria, Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley (D) as well as a fundraising trip for Washington Sen. Maria Cantwell (D). More fundraisers were scheduled along the way.[47]

Public speaking gaffes

Biden is known, in part, for his public speaking slip-ups, or what some call "Joe being Joe." Following is a list of those gaffes during the 2016 election cycle.[47]

  • On September 16, 2014, Biden made reference to "Shylocks" giving military families bad loans during a speech. He apologized the following day, calling it a "poor choice of words."[48]
  • On September 17, 2014, the day he apologized for including "Shylocks" in a speech, Biden referred to Asia as "the Orient" during a speech in Iowa.[49]
  • On September 19, 2014, Biden reminisced about working alongside former Sen. Bob Packwood (R-OR) at a women's conference. Packwood resigned from the Senate in 1995 after allegations of sexual advances and assaults on women arose.[50]
  • On October 2, 2014, he suggested in a Q&A at Harvard that Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Turkey have assisted extremist groups in Syria and Iraq, including ISIS. He apologized to officials from all three countries.[51]

Public statements on a possible run

  • In a July 2013 interview, Biden stated, "I can die a happy man never having been president of the United States of America, but it doesn't mean I won't run."[52]

Comments on potential campaign

  • President Barack Obama commented on both Biden and Hillary Clinton when asked to compare them, stating, "both Hillary and Joe would make outstanding presidents, and possess the qualities that are needed to be outstanding presidents."[53]

Public opinion polls

See also: Early presidential polling, 2016 and Presidential straw polls, 2016
  • A December 11, 2013, poll conducted by McClatchy-Marist showed Biden losing a hypothetical primary to Hillary Clinton, with 65% supporting Clinton to 12% supporting Biden.[54]

Elizabeth Warren

Elizabeth Warren.jpg
See also: Elizabeth Warren

After a lengthy November 2013 profile of Warren in The New Republic, rumors of a possible 2016 run began heating up. Despite Warren having been among a group of female Senate Democrats who wrote a letter to Hillary Clinton urging her to run, an aide of Warren was quoted in the profile stating: "If Hillary or the man on the moon is not representing her stuff, and her people don’t have a seat at table, she’ll do what she can to make sure it’s represented."[55]

Despite having stated that she was not running for president, a group of supporters started the Ready for Warren Super PAC to raise funds for a 2016 presidential run. Warren remarked that her focus was on her upcoming election, stating, "I do not support this."[56]


On December 4, 2013, Warren announced she would serve out her term as a Massachusetts senator. She stated, "I am not running for president. I am working as hard as I can to be the best possible senator that I can be and to fight for the things that I promised during my campaign to fight for."[57] While some accepted that statement as an indication that she would not run for president, the Washington Post pointed out on July 23, 2014, that Warren had yet to rule out running in the future.[58]

Pre-campaign positioning

On August 13, 2014, Warren announced she would visit Israel with a congressional delegation following the midterm elections in what could be an attempt to strengthen her foreign affairs credibility.[59]

Mark Warner

Mark Warner.jpg
See also: Mark Warner

Warner made trips to Iowa and New Hampshire prior to the 2008 election, but he decided against campaigning and withdrew, citing family concerns. He is running for re-election to his Senate seat in 2014.[60] There have been 16 senators elected to the presidency, including Barack Obama.[61]

Brian Schweitzer

See also: Brian Schweitzer

In an October 2013 interview, Schweitzer was asked if he was open to a 2016 presidential run, to which he responded, "I still hold the people of Iowa and New Hampshire in high regard,” Schweitzer said of the nation’s first caucus and primary states. “The people of Iowa are a whole lot like the people of Montana. And, of course, New Hampshire’s a lot like Montana. We don’t have a sales tax. ‘Live Free or Die’ -- we understand that notion in Montana." He followed the statement by saying, "There’s a whole lot of America that looks at each other and says, ‘Well, there’s 340 million people living in America. Isn’t there somebody other than a Bush or a Clinton who can be president in these modern times?"[62] He served two terms as governor of Montana and decided against campaigning for an open U.S. Senate seat in 2014.[63] There have been 17 presidents who previously served as governors.[64]

Public statements on possible run

  • In a Time interviwe on June 5, 2014, when asked if he was better suited to be president than Hillary Clinton, he stated, "Well, I think so, of course." He also attacked her relationship with Wall Street and support for the Iraq War during the interview.[65]

Martin O'Malley

Martin O'Malley2.jpg
See also: Martin O'Malley

When asked on January 12, 2014, whether he was considering a presidential run, O'Malley stated, "Sure, I've said I'm thinking about it, but right now I'm primarily focused on what I need to do for the good of our state." His term as governor expires in January 2015, when presidential campaigns begin to heat up. O'Malley visited New Hampshire and South Carolina in 2013.[66] There have been 17 presidents who previously served as governors.[64]

Public opinion polls

See also: Early presidential polling, 2016 and Presidential straw polls, 2016
  • A CNN poll from November 2013, showed only 2 percent of voters saying they would support O'Malley for the party's nomination.[66]
  • An October 2014 poll of Maryland residents showed that only 19 percent of people thought he should run for the presidency in 2016, while 65 percent said they did not want him to run.[67]

Amy Klobuchar

Amy Klobuchar.jpg
See also: Amy Klobuchar

When asked if she was considering a run for the presidency at a 2013 fundraiser, Klobuchar stated she was focused on representing Minnesota in the Senate.[68] She made visits to Iowa, South Carolina and Iowa in 2013.[69] There have been 16 senators elected to the presidency, including Barack Obama.[61]

On June 4, 2014, Klobuchar's name was listed on an invitation to a fundraiser for the Ready for Hillary PAC.[70]

Kirsten Gillibrand

Kirsten Gillibrand.jpg
See also: Kirsten Gillibrand

When asked on November 17, 2013, if she was considering a run for the presidency, Gillibrand stated, "I am on the bandwagon for Hillary Clinton in 2016."[71] There have been 16 Senators elected to the presidency, including Barack Obama.[61]

Andrew Cuomo

Andrew Cuomo.jpg
See also: Andrew Cuomo

When asked on November 22, 2013, whether he would consider a 2016 presidential bid, Cuomo stated, "Hillary Clinton is ‘apparently’ running for president of the United States, and I should also say Chris Christie is ‘apparently’ running for president of the United States. I – very apparently – am not." He would likely have to compete in the primary against Hillary Clinton, whose husband Cuomo served as a cabinet member to.[72] There have been 17 presidents who previously served as governors.[64]

Public opinion polls

  • A Siena Research Institute poll conducted in November 2013, showed Cuomo losing to New Jersey Governor Chris Christie in a hypothetical 2016 head-to-head match-up.[72]

Republican candidate news

Marco Rubio

Marco Rubio.jpg
See also: Marco Rubio

In an interview conducted during a visit to New Hampshire in May 2014, Rubio stated that he was ready to be president. He stopped short of announcing a run, and stated that if he did run for the presidency, he would not seek re-election to the Senate.[73] Rubio has visited Iowa and New Hampshire since the 2012 presidential election. He also gave the Republican response to President Obama's State of the Union Address in 2013 but had an awkward moment reaching for a drink of water.[9] There have been 16 Senators elected to the presidency, including Barack Obama.[61]


On April 11, 2014, Rubio's chief of staff resigned from his post in order to lead Rubio's Reclaim America PAC.[74] He made his first ever Senate primary endorsement on June 2, 2014, when he endorsed Joni Ernst from Iowa.[75]

Rand Paul

Rand Paul.jpg
See also: Rand Paul

On December 8, 2013, Paul stated his family will determine whether or not he will run for president, claiming, "The thought has crossed my mind ... I'm not ready to make a decision yet."[76] There have been 16 senators elected to the presidency, including Barack Obama.[61] Paul's father, former Representative Ron Paul, ran for the presidency three times, including once as a Libertarian in 1988.[77] He was endorsed by fellow Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell (R) upon McConnell's retention of his Senate race in 2014. McConnell, who had been supported by Paul's endorsement in his Senate race, stated on Paul's possible candidacy, "I don't think he's made a final decision on that. But he'll be able to count on me."[78]


Paul's chief of staff, Doug Stafford--who is widely seen as Paul’s closest adviser--announced plans to resign in order to manage Paul’s national political operation, according to reports from May 2, 2013.[79] Stafford's role would be focused on directing the senator’s organization in early-primary states, his calendar, and his communications.[79] He will also run Paul’s political-action committees — RAND PAC and Rand Paul for U.S. Senate — which are expected to grow and are the financial and political foundation for Paul’s likely presidential campaign if he chooses to run for President in 2016.[79]

In May and June 2013, Paul planned trips to several states for the beginning of a presidential exploration tour. States Paul planned to visit on the trip include California, Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina.[80][81] During Paul's visit to Iowa on May 11, 2013, he criticized Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for her handling of the Benghazi terrorist attack.[82][83] During Paul's trip to the Granite State, New Hampshire state house representative Phil Straight (R) called Paul a "contender" for the 2016 presidential race.[84] He was also one of six Republicans headlining a major fundraising event in New York City on September 23, 2013.[85]

Paul headlined a September 20, 2014 California Republican Convention, attacking Hillary Clinton's foreign policy record, particularly the 2012 attack in Benghazi which he argued should "preclude her from being [president]." He also focused his message that the Republican Party needed to change in some ways in order to bring in voters who may have been polarized by recent Republican stances.[86] He also told the San Francisco Chronicle that his team was "in the process" of opening an office in San Francisco, where he has wealthy supporters.[87]

Time editorial

Paul wrote an editorial for Time magazine in which he called out the militarization of local police departments as well as race relations between law enforcement and minorities. Paul argued that the federal government was encouraging the local departments to create "small armies" through a program with the Defense Department. Coming on the heels of the police shooting and public rioting in Ferguson, Missouri in 2014, he claimed, "Washington has incentivized the militarization of local police precincts by using federal dollars to help municipal governments build what are essentially small armies — where police departments compete to acquire military gear that goes far beyond what most of Americans think of as law enforcement." In discussing race relations, he wrote, "Anyone who thinks that race does not still, even if inadvertently, skew the application of criminal justice in this country is just not paying close enough attention." He continued, pointing out that "it is impossible for African-Americans not to feel like their government is particularly targeting them."[88]

Campaign issues

Executive orders

Paul announced on September 12, 2014, that if he were to be elected president, his first executive order would be to repeal all previous executive orders from past presidents. He stated, "We’ve done way too many things [the wrong way]: Signing statements, altering legislation by the president, are wrong and unconstitutional and shouldn’t happen. Executive orders shouldn’t either." A spokesperson explained further, "Senator Paul's statement was meant to emphasize this president's overt and unconstitutional executive orders, it was not meant to be taken literally."[89]

Public statements about possible run

  • In an interview in April 2013, Paul answered when asked whether he'll run for president, “We are considering it. You know, I want to be part of the national debate. So whether I run or not, being considered is something that allows me to have a larger microphone.”[79]
  • On December 8, 2013, Paul said the life of a national politician can be an “ordeal,” and the impact of uncivil treatment on his family could nix any 2016 presidential run. “It really is an ordeal to be part of public life. ... I also hate it when family is attacked, and they get into the news,” he said.[76]
  • Paul criticized potential Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton in an August 24, 2014 interview, calling her a "war hawk." He stated, "I think that’s what scares the Democrats the most is that in a general election, were I to run, there’s going to be a lot of independents and even some Democrats who say we are tired of war, we’re worried that Hillary Clinton is going to get us into another Middle Eastern war because she’s so gung ho. If you want to see a transformational election in our country, let the Democrats put forward a war hawk like Hillary Clinton and you’ll see a transformation like you’ve never seen."[90]

Comments on possible campaign

  • When asked whether Paul would run, Paul's father, former Representative Ron Paul, stated, "I think he probably will. I mean he’s been on TV hinting that he very well might. I think he is handling himself quite well."[91]
  • Bill Maher, liberal host of Real Time on HBO, spoke with interest about Paul on September 10, 2014, suggesting, "Rand Paul is an interesting candidate to me. Rand Paul could possibly get my vote. As I always used to say about his father, I love half of him. I love the half of him that has the guts to say we should end the American empire, pull the troops home, stop getting involved in every foreign entanglement… He’s way less of a hawk than Hillary, and that appeals to me a lot because I’m not crazy about how warlike she is."[92]
  • Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) expressed his growing support for Paul in a September 29, 2014 interview, stating, "I know that if he were president or a nominee I could influence him, particularly some of his views and positions on national security. He trusts me particularly on the military side of things, so I could easily work with him. It wouldn’t be a problem."[93]


  • Paul took issue with New Jersey Governor Chris Christie's use of federal disaster relief funding to pay for a tourism marketing campaign following Hurricane Sandy. Of the use of $25 million on the campaign, Paul stated, "In New Jersey, $25 million was spent on ads that included somebody running for political office. Do you think there might be a conflict of interest there?"[94]
  • Paul faced strong criticism in 2013 for plagiarism in his speeches, newspaper articles and even his book "Government Bullies." He announced plans to change the way his office works in guarding against plagiarism, stating, "We’re now going to footnote everything and make sure it has a reference because I do take this personally, and I don’t want to be accused of misrepresenting myself." After it was discovered speeches in Joe Biden's 1988 presidential campaign were plagiarised, he dropped out of the race and didn't run again until 2008.[95]

Public opinion polls

  • A July 2013 poll conducted by Democratic polling firm Public Policy Polling found that Paul led other possible Republican presidential candidates by a margin of 16%. The other politicians in the poll included (in order of results) Jeb Bush, Gov. Chris Christie (NJ), Rep. Paul Ryan (WI), Sen. Ted Cruz (TX) and Sen. Marco Rubio.[96]
  • A December 11, 2013, poll conducted by Quinnipiac showed Paul losing a hypothetical election against Hillary Clinton, with Paul receiving 41% to Clinton's 48%.[37]
  • A McClatchy-Marist poll released December 11, 2013, showed Paul losing to likely Republican challenger Chris Christie 12% to 18%.[37]
  • A March 2014 survey conducted by CNN showed Paul leading the GOP field for presidential hopefuls, edging out Paul Ryan by one point. With 16% support, Paul also polled much better than Chris Christie who only garnered 8%.[97]

Chris Christie

See also: Chris Christie

When asked on August 14, 2014, whether he would enter the presidential race in 2016, Christie stated, "I’m thinking about it. It is an enormous decision to make not only for me, but my family. Probably by the end of this year or the beginning of next I’ll decide."[98] Christie made visits to key states, Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina, in 2012.[9] He was also a headlining Republican at a national fundraising event in New York City on September 23, 2013.[99] There have been 17 presidents who previously served as governors.[64]


  • Sen. Rand Paul took issue with Christie's use of $25 million in federal hurricane relief on New Jersey's "Stronger than the Storm" tourism marketing campaign. Paul stated on the use of the disaster relief funding, "In New Jersey, $25 million was spent on ads that included somebody running for political office. Do you think there might be a conflict of interest there?"[100] On January 13, 2014, New Jersey Rep. Frank Pallone announced a federal investigation stemming from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development on whether the money was used improperly.[101] Twenty subpeaonas were issued in the investigation.[102]
  • Christie was accused of closing lanes on the George Washington Bridge, blocking traffic in Fort Lee, New Jersey, whose mayor would not endorse Christie's re-election campaign. Christie ended up firing a top aide and his campaign manager while claiming, "I had no knowledge or involvement in this issue, in its planning or its execution."[103]

Comments on possible campaign

  • In an interview with CNN in November 2013, Christie objected to the political label of a "moderate," saying he considers himself a conservative. "I've governed as a conservative in this state, and I think that's led to some people disagreeing with me in our state, because it's generally a left-of-center, blue state."[104]

Public opinion polls

See also: Early presidential polling, 2016 and Presidential straw polls, 2016
  • According to a Quinnipiac poll released January 21, 2014, Clinton led Christie with 46% supporting Clinton while 38% supported Christie.[38]
  • In a March 2014 poll released by CNN, Christie only registered 8% support compared to front-runners Rand Paul at 16%, Paul Ryan at 15% and Rick Perry at 11%.[105]
  • A July 2014 Gallup poll indicated top four finishers for favorability were Mike Huckabee, Rand Paul, Rick Perry and Paul Ryan. Christie received the lowest favorability of candidates in the poll while also earning the highest familiarity rating.[106]

Ted Cruz

Ted Cruz.jpg
See also: Ted Cruz

Cruz has not openly stated whether or not he's considering a bid for the 2016 presidential election.[107] There have been 16 senators elected to the presidency, including Barack Obama.[61]

It has been debated whether or not Cruz is eligible for the presidency as he was born in Canada to his American mother, but Cruz insists he is eligible.[108] Cruz received notification on June 10, 2014, that he had successfully renounced his Canadian citizenship, effective May 14, 2014. Cruz gave up his dual citizenship upon learning of it in August 2013. Despite this news, the battle over whether Cruz is eligible to be president will likely continue.[109]


On September 10, 2014, Cruz' chief of staff, Chip Roy, took a new position as a senior adviser with Cruz' campaign team, fueling speculation that Cruz was preparing to make a presidential run in 2016.[110] He visited Iowa in August 2014, giving multiple speeches, and he visited New Hampshire to help campaign for Republican House candidate Marilinda Garcia on September 7, 2014.[111][112]

Comments on possible campaign

  • Former Governor Mitt Romney, when running through a list of names he thought would potentially make winning presidential candidates, did not name Cruz as being one of "the most effective in becoming elected."[113]

Public opinion polls

See also: Early presidential polling, 2016
  • Cruz won the presidential straw poll held at the Republican Leadership Conference held in New Orleans, Louisiana, on May 31, 2014. Cruz drew 30% of the votes, followed closely by Fox News reporter Dr. Ben Carson with 29% and Rand Paul with 10%.[114]

Scott Walker

See also: Scott Walker

When asked on December 1, 2013, if he was considering a run for the presidency, Walker stated, "I'm running for governor ... we'll see what happens after that. I've got to look at my state ... for now I'm focused on being governor."[115] He did not finish his college education, instead opting to leave school for a job with the American Red Cross in his senior year at Marquette University. He reasoned, "I went to college, in large part, was not just to get an education for an education’s sake, but to get a job."[116] There have been 17 presidents who previously served as governors.[64]


Walker visited Iowa and South Carolina in 2013 as well as a headliner of a GOP fundraiser in New York City with other top potential 2016 candidates.[117][118] He also released a new book in 2013, titled "Unintimidated: A Governor's Story and a Nation's Challenge," but denied it was a preface to a 2016 run, stating, "Unlike a lot of times when elected officials write books, there isn’t some alternative purpose." Walker made a bold case on the advantages of a governor running as a potential candidate rather than a representative of the U.S. Senate and House, claiming of governors, "They can't hide behind their vote. They can't just talk about things. We're ultimately held accountable every single day. We have to present budgets. Many of us — like myself — not only have vetoes but line-item vetoes. We put together cabinets. Those are all important things when it comes to leadership."[119]


  • Walker was the first target of a political attack by Correct the Record, an off-shoot of American Bridge, on November 25, 2013. Their release focused on Walker's pledge to bring 250,000, stating, "To do this, Wisconsin would have to average around 11,000 new jobs a month, every month, if the Republican Governor is to keep his word."[120]

Jeb Bush

Gov Jeb Bush.jpg

When asked during a school benefit in New York on April 23, 2014, what his immediate plans were for 2016, Bush stated, "I'm thinking about running for president." He told the audience he would make a decision by the end of 2014.[121] The former Florida governor and younger brother of President George W. Bush, would be the first brother of a president to run for the office since Robert Kennedy was assassinated while campaigning in 1968. He is also the son of President George H.W. Bush.

Public statements on possible run

  • May 30, 2013: When asked about a potential presidential run, Bush stated, "My thinking is not to think about it for a year." Bush made trips to Iowa and South Carolina in 2012.[9]

Comments on possible campaign

  • On April 19, 2013, President George W. Bush stated that he hoped Jeb would consider running and that Jeb would not "be afraid of entering the arena" because of the family name.[122]
  • Speaker of the House John Boehner expressed his support of Bush in a September 28, 2014 interview, stating, "I'm not endorsing anybody. But Jeb Bush is my friend and, frankly, I think he'd make a great president."[123]

Public opinion polls

See also: Early presidential polling, 2016
  • In a Washington Post-ABC News poll released on April 29, 2014, Hillary Clinton led Bush in a general election poll with 53% support to Bush's 41%.[39]

Paul Ryan

Paul Ryan.jpg
See also: Paul Ryan

When asked in August 2014 whether he was considering a presidential run, Ryan stated, "As far as myself and my family, this is a decision we're going to take very seriously and weigh in 2015, so I just don't know the answer to your question at this time." Ryan campaigned for vice president on the ticket with Mitt Romney in 2012, and visited Iowa and New Hampshire during the campaign.[9] He was also one of six Republicans headlining a major fundraising event in New York City on September 23, 2013.[124] Ryan released a book in 2014 on the state of conservatism, titled The Way Forward.[125] Only one president, James Garfield, was elected to office as a sitting House member.[126]

Public opinion polls

  • A March 2014 poll conducted by CNN had Ryan one point behind Sen. Rand Paul on a list of presidential hopefuls. At 15% support, Ryan came in ahead of Rick Perry and Mike Huckabee, the only other potential candidates to poll in the double figures.[105]

Bobby Jindal

Bobby Jindal 2013.jpg
See also: Bobby Jindal

During a lunch with conservative bloggers on September 16, 2014, Jindal stated, "I’m not going to be coy, I’m thinking about running for president and praying about it."[127] He made several visits to Iowa and New Hampshire in 2013.[9] There have been 17 presidents who previously served as governors.[64]


Jindal visited Iowa in August 2014, for the Iowa State Fair.[128]

Rick Perry

Rick Perry.jpg
See also: Rick Perry

Perry responded to a September 11, 2014 question about his candidacy in 2016, stating, "I may not run in 2016, but I’ve spent the last 20-plus months preparing. If I don’t run, it won’t be because I’m not prepared."[129] There have been 17 presidents who previously served as governors.[64]


In 2013, Perry hired Jeff Miller, a California political lobbyist, to begin formulating Perry's plan for a presidential run in 2016. According to a July 2014 report in the Weekly Stanard, Perry's initial strategy revolved around two main points:[130]

  1. Expand Perry's presence nationally, explaining the economic successes of Texas, in particular in Democratic states[130]
  2. Seek and obtain advice from conservative scholars[130] He visited Iowa in August 2014, where he earned high marks for his policies.[131] He also visited Iowa in November 2013 and took trips to London and Israel in October 2013.[132]

In late july 2014, Perry filed paperwork to establish a political action committee (PAC) named "RickPAC."[133] A spokesman said that this PAC's mission is to support Republican candidates "around the country" by raising money for them.[133] Governing notes that this effort is very similar to the "SarahPAC" started by Sarah Palin and may be a way to build support among Rick Perry's fellow Republicans prior to a presidential run.[133]


  • Perry was indicted on August 15, 2014, by a grand jury on felony charges of coercion of a state official and abuse of official power.[134] He claimed the charges were politically motivated at a press conference the following day.[135]

Public opinion polls

See also: 2016 early polling and 2016 straw polls
  • In a March 2014 poll conducted by CNN, Perry garnered 11% of the vote to rank third in the GOP behind Rand Paul (16%) and Paul Ryan (15%).[105]
  • A July 2014 Gallup poll indicated Perry was one of four frontrunners for the GOP nomination. The top four finishers were Mike Huckabee, Rand Paul, Perry and Paul Ryan.[136]

Nikki Haley

See also: Nikki Haley

When speaking about leadership in November 2013, Haley stated, "I’m a huge fan of governors, you know, because it’s not about talk. It’s about what they do. And so, while I think we’re going to have a fabulous slate of candidates for [the] presidency and I think we need to look at each and every one,what I always think are important are results. And it’s really hard for someone out of DC to prove results when they can’t even stay open."[137] There have been 17 presidents who previously served as governors.[64]

Comments on a possible run

  • On September 24, 2014, Ann Romney, wife of 2012 candidate and possible 2016 candidate Mitt Romney, stated, "I wish I could see some women out there,” Romney said. “I love Nikki Haley … I’d love to see more women participate."[138]

Rick Santorum

Richard J. Santorum.jpg
See also: Rick Santorum

When asked on September 11, 2014, whether he would consider another presidential campaign, Santorum stated, "as someone who’s looking at the 2016 presidential race, and looking at the field, and seeing really no one there that has any kind of national security experience, it certainly encourages me to take a more serious look."[139] Santorum ran for the Republican nomination in 2012, but he was defeated by Mitt Romney.[140] There have been 16 Senators elected to the presidency, including Barack Obama.[61]


Santorum visited Iowa in August 2014, for the Iowa State Fair.[141]

Public statements on a possible run

  • Santorum accused Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), another potential 2016 candidate, of "backtracking" on his national security stances throughout the years, claiming, "I admire him in a sense for taking those positions, for trying to move the Republican Party in the direction he thinks is best, but now that things have heated up, he’s trying to put the genie back in the bottle. And I think the bottom line is, and this goes for President Obama too, that just because a war isn’t hot doesn’t mean it’s not still percolating."[139]

Other possible candidates




IndependentLoretta Lax Miller
IndependentJesse Ventura

See also

External links


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