Current Events: 2016 Presidential Candidates


Lincoln Chafee and Jim Webb have dropped out of the Democratic primary race. This leaves the following three candidates:

Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton is the best-known candidate in the race. Voters are familiar with her from her time as secretary of state, 2008 presidential campaign and time in the U.S. Senate. And her husband is obviously pretty famous too. It remains to be seen how her lesser-known controversies will affect her White House bid. Clinton has been accused of corruption for allowing the Clinton Foundation to accept donations from foreign governments and hiding emails from when she was secretary of state.
Age on Election Day: 69
Education: Wellesley College (Political Science), Yale University Law School (J.D.)
Family: Married (Bill), one child (Chelsea)
Birthplace: Chicago, Ill.
Current Residence: Chappaqua, N.Y. or Washington, D.C.
Religion: Methodist

Bernie Sanders

Bernie Sanders has been a U.S. senator from Vermont since 2007, prior to which he served in the House of Representatives for 16 years. He’s now the ranking member of the Senate Budget Committee and chaired the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee for two years. Technically, Sanders is an independent and has described himself as a democratic socialist in the past. If he chooses to run, Sanders will likely be the most liberal candidate in the race, having long-championed liberal causes like single-payer healthcare, the expansion of Social Security and opposition to free trade.
Age on Election Day: 75
Education: University of Chicago (Political Science)
Family: Married (Jane), four children (Levi, Heather, Carina, David)
Birthplace: Brooklyn, N.Y.
Current Residence: Burlington, Vt.
Religion: Judaism

Martin OMalley

Martin O’Malley was the governor of Maryland for eight years until January 2015. Since then he has visited Iowa and New Hampshire to talk about liberal priorities such as same-sex marriage and the minimum wage, calling for a raise to $15 an hour. He has been an outspoken opponent of pending trade agreements. Prior to being governor, O’Malley was the mayor of Baltimore for seven years. His record there has been criticized after the Baltimore riots in April. As governor, O’Malley signed 40 tax hikes into law.
Age on Election Day: 53
Education: Catholic University of America (Political Science), University of Maryland (J.D.)
Family: Married (Katie), four children (Grace, Tara, William, Jack)
Birthplace: Washington, D.C.
Current Residence: Baltimore, Md.
Religion: Roman Catholic


Rick Perry and Scott Walker have dropped out of the Republican primary race. This leaves 15 Republican candidates:

Ben Carson

Ben Carson is a retired neurosurgeon who rose to political fame after speaking at the National Prayer Breakfast in 2013. Although he has never held elective office, Carson is a published author, serves on the board of multiple corporations, and received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2008 for his work. Carson is an outspoken opponent of Obamacare. He also has a history of controversial comments, including that Obamacare is the “worst thing … since slavery.” Carson briefly led or was tied for the lead in several national polls in late spring 2015.
Age on Election Day: 65
Education: Yale University (Psychology), University of Michigan (M.D.)
Family: Married (Candy), three children (Murray, Benjamin, Rhoeyce)
Birthplace: Detroit, Mich.
Current Residence: West Friendship, Md.
Religion: Seventh-Day Adventist

Donald Trump

Donald Trump is the son of Fred Trump, a wealthy real estate developer. Donald Trump is a successful businessman in his own right. Trump has flirted with running in the past and appeared at multiple Conservative Political Action Conferences. His brash personality and wealth make him one of the most well-known figures in the country. Although he was a Republican before 1999, Trump was a registered Democrat from 2001-2009 and previously supported universal healthcare. He was the host of “The Apprentice,” a reality show on NBC.
Age on Election Day: 70
Education: Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania (Economics)
Family: Married (Ivana [divorced], Marla [divorced], Melania), five children (Donald, Ivanka, Eric, Tiffany, Barron)
Birthplace: New York, N.Y.
Current Residence: New York, N.Y.
Religion: Presbyterian

Ted Cruz

Ted Cruz became a U.S. senator from Texas in 2013, when a delayed election calendar helped him get his message out and defeat an establishment Republican candidate who outspent him three-to-one. He was a partner at Morgan Lewis law firm and solicitor general for the state of Texas. He has successfully argued cases before the Supreme Court. Cruz was criticized by some and became a hero to others by trying to defund Obamacare during budget negotiations in Fall 2013 that ended in a government shutdown. Cruz was born in Canada, but he was born to an American mother, so he is eligible for the presidency.
Age on Election Day: 45
Education: Princeton University (Public Policy), Harvard Law School (J.D.)
Family: Married (Heidi), two children (Caroline, Catherine)
Birthplace: Calgary, Canada (Cruz’s mother was born in the United States, so he is still eligible for the presidency)
Current Residence: Houston, Texas
Religion: Southern Baptist

Marco Rubio

Marco Rubio has been a senator from Florida since 2011, after Tea Party support helped push him past Charlie Crist in a three-way general election. Prior to that, Rubio had a nine-year career in the Florida House of Representatives, two years of which he was speaker of the House. Rubio’s Cuban descent has been a notable influence on his support for conservative immigration reform and on Cuban-American relations, an issue he has criticized Obama heavily on.
Age on Election Day: 45
Education: University of Florida (Political Science), University of Miami School of Law (J.D.)
Family: Married (Jeanette), four children (Amanda Loren, Daniella, Anthony, Dominick)
Birthplace: Miami, Fla.
Current Residence: West Miami, Fla.
Religion: Roman Catholic

Jeb Bush

John Ellis Bush (his name “JEB” is actually an acronym) served as governor of Florida from 1999 to 2007, after narrowly missing winning that job in 1994. Bush is known for his moderate stances on immigration and Common Core, although he says the federal government should have no role in the Common Core debate. He’s the brother of former President George W. Bush and the son of former President George H.W. Bush. After his time as governor, he founded the Foundation for Excellence in Education, which is now chaired by former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
Age on Election Day: 63
Education: University of Texas (Latin American Studies)
Family: Married (Columba), three children (George, Noelle, Jeb)
Birthplace: Midland, Texas
Current Residence: Coral Gables, Fla.
Religion: Roman Catholic (converted from Episcopalian)

Rand Paul

Rand Paul has been a senator from Kentucky since 2011, after Tea Party support helped him upset an establishment party-favorite Republican in the primary. The son of a former presidential candidate, former Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, Paul already has a solid base of libertarian support. He was cheered by conservatives in 2013 for his 13-hour filibuster of now-CIA Director John Brennan’s nomination, motivated by President Obama’s drone strike policy. Paul has campaigned on “trying to kill the tax code,” preferring dramatically simpler and lower taxes.
Age on Election Day: 53
Education: Baylor University (did not finish), Duke University School of Medicine (M.D.)
Family: Married (Kelley), three children (Robert, Duncan, William)
Birthplace: Pittsburgh, Pa.
Current Residence: Bowling Green, Ky.
Religion: Presbyterian (converted from Episcopalian)

Carly Fiorina

Carly Fiorina was CEO of Hewlett-Packard from 1999 to 2005. She is the only Republican woman in the race. Fiorina is the chairman of the American Conservative Union Foundation, which perhaps helps her credibility with Tea Partiers. She has never held elective office. She ran for U.S. Senate in California in 2010, losing 52 to 42 percent to the incumbent, Sen. Barbara Boxer. Fiorina has called Hillary Clinton’s trustworthiness into question and made other critical comments, boosting her profile on the campaign trail.
Age on Election Day: 62
Education: Stanford University (Medieval History and Philosophy), UCLA Law School (did not finish), University of Maryland (MBA), Massachusetts Institute of Technology Sloan School of Management (Master of Science)
Family: Married (Frank), two step-children (Lori Ann [deceased], Traci)
Birthplace: Austin, Texas
Current Residence: Mason Neck, Va.
Religion: Christian

Mike Huckabee

Mike Huckabee served as governor of Arkansas from 1996 to 2007. Following his failed campaign for the GOP presidential nomination in 2008, he hosted the “Huckabee” show on Fox News until early 2015. Huckabee is well-known for his very conservative positions on social and cultural issues, and was an ordained Southern Baptist minister prior to becoming Arkansas’ lieutenant governor. Huckabee is critical of some conservative economic policies, such as reforming Social Security.
Age on Election Day: 61
Education: Ouachita Baptist University (Religion), Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (did not finish)
Family: Married (Janet), three children (John Mark, David, Sarah)
Birthplace: Hope, Ark.
Current Residence: Santa Rosa Beach, Fla.
Religion: Southern Baptist

Bobby Jindal

Bobby Jindal has been the governor of Louisiana since 2008. Born to immigrants from India, Jindal is one of the few candidates with a non-white ethnic background. Prior to becoming governor, Jindal served in Congress for three years. Unlike other governors who might run for president, there’s little to wonder about Jindal’s national policy positions. He’s already released national policy plans on education, health care, national defense and energy through America Next, his policy shop.
Age on Election Day: 45
Education: Brown University (Biology and Public Policy), Oxford University (MLitt.)
Family: Married (Supriya), three children (Selia, Shaan, Slade)
Birthplace: Baton Rouge, La.
Current Residence: Baton Rouge, La.
Religion: Roman Catholic (converted from Hinduism).

John Kasich

John Kasich has served as the governor of Ohio since 2011. Kasich had an 18-year stay in Congress until he decided against re-election, instead trying a presidential bid that didn’t last beyond the 2000 Iowa Straw Poll. Early in his time as governor, Kasich signed a law strictly limiting collective bargaining rights, but the law was overturned in a referendum. Kasich has been criticized by conservatives for expanding Medicaid in Ohio through Obamacare, and also for his support for Common Core.
Age on Election Day: 64
Education: Ohio State (Political Science)
Family: Married (Karen), two children (Emma, Reese)
Birthplace: McKees Rocks, Pa.
Current Residence: Westerville, Ohio
Religion: Anglican (converted from Catholicism)

Rick Santorum

Rick Santorum was a U.S. senator from Pennsylvania from 1995 to 2007. He is well-known for his 2012 presidential campaign, when he arguably finished second in the GOP primaries and won the Iowa Caucuses. Santorum has been the CEO of EchoLight Studios since 2013, a film company that produces Christian films. He is most famous for his very conservative positions on social issues, like a ban on most abortions.
Age on Election Day: 58
Education: Penn State University (Political Science), University of Pittsburgh (M.B.A.), Dickinson School of Law (J.D.)
Family: Married (Karen), eight children (Elizabeth, Johnny, Daniel, Gabriel [deceased], Sarah, Peter, Patrick, Bella)
Birthplace: Winchester, Va.
Current Residence: Great Falls, Va., or Dallas, Texas
Religion: Roman Catholic

Chris Christie

Chris Christie has been the governor of New Jersey since 2010. Prior to that, he was the U.S. attorney for the District of New Jersey from 2001 to 2008. Although he was cleared from wrongdoing in the infamous “Bridgegate” scandal, Christie’s reputation still suffers from it. Christie is well known for having a moderate-to-conservative record in deep-blue New Jersey and vehemently defending that record against hecklers, including teachers union members. Christie said “the national teachers union” deserves a punch in the face in an August 2015 interview.
Age on Election Day: 54
Education: University of Delaware (Political Science), Seton Hall University (J.D.)
Family: Married (Mary Pat), four children (Andrew, Sarah, Patrick, Bridget)
Birthplace: Newark, N.J.
Current Residence: Mendham, N.J.
Religion: Roman Catholic

Jim Gilmore

Jim Gilmore served as governor of Virginia from 1998 to 2002 (term limits prevented another run). Gilmore also ran for president in the 2008 cycle, but withdrew after six months. Instead he ran for the U.S. Senate, losing by 21 points to now-Senator Mark Warner. As governor, Gilmore phased out property taxes on vehicles and cut spending during the early 2000s recession. Gilmore is also a veteran of the U.S. Army and was chairman of the Republican National Committee in 2001.
Age on Election Day: 67
Education: University of Virginia (undergraduate and law school)
Family: Married (Roxane), two children
Birthplace: Richmond, Va.
Current Residence: Alexandria, Va., or Richmond, Va.
Religion: Methodist

Lindsey Graham

Lindsey Graham has been a U.S. senator from South Carolina since 2003. He has been in some form of elected office since 1993, also serving in the South Carolina House of Representatives and the U.S. House of Representatives. He is a firm believer in foreign policy interventionism, but his centrist views on environmental policy are rare in the GOP. He is frequently identified as an ally of Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., and backed McCain’s campaign finance law in 2002.
Age on Election Day: 61
Education: University of South Carolina (Psychology, J.D.)
Family: Unmarried, no children
Birthplace: Central, S.C.
Current Residence: Seneca, S.C.
Religion: Southern Baptist

George Pataki

George Pataki served three terms as governor of New York, ending in 2006. Since then, Pataki has been an environmental lawyer and run his own business development firm focused on clean energy. He also spent some time helping run Revere America, an anti-Obamacare organization. Pataki’s record as governor of deep-blue New York puts him closer toward the moderate part of the conservative spectrum.
Age on Election Day: 71
Education: Yale University (History), Columbia Law School (J.D.)
Family: Married (Libby), four children (Emily, Teddy, Allison, George Owen)
Birthplace: Peekskill, N.Y.
Current Residence: Garrison, N.Y.
Religion: Roman Catholic

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