Photo Essay

  • Hillary Clinton is the one to beat if she enters the race. Big-name Democrats are already supporting her, and with a PAC that is “Ready for Hillary”, it’d be more surprising if she didn’t run. The 2008 presidential candidate, who served as secretary of state and senator, has been dubbed the “most qualified” person to run in 2016.
  • Chris Christie’s approval ratings in blue-state New Jersey are sky-high. Many Republicans hoped Christie would throw his hat in the 2012 race, but he soon became a polarizing figure within the GOP after he praised President Obama for his response to Superstorm Sandy right before the last election.
  • Momentum has been building behind Ted Cruz after he won his Senate seat in 2012 against sitting Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst—a race he was expected to lose. With a headline-making faux filibuster against Obamacare under his belt, the Tea Party star could bring enthusiasm to the GOP’s 2016 stage.
  • After a tough election beating out incumbent Sen. Scott Brown, Elizabeth Warren in her first year rose to the title of senior senator. The first female senator from Massachusetts wasted no time going after Wall Street and big banks for being “too big for trial.”
  • Joe Biden’s long career in Washington helped him secure his place as Barack Obama’s running mate in 2008. Biden himself mounted two presidential campaigns, but never made it past the primaries. By 2016, he’ll have eight years of White House experience–something that Democrats could use to bolster his chances, but Republicans would be eager to use against him.
  • Before filling Hillary Clinton’s Senate seat, Kirsten Gillibrand made a name for herself in the House as a moderate Democrat who made revolutionary steps in transparency by being the first member of Congress to publish her official schedule online. She is leading congressional action on military sexual assault with proposals to remove assault cases from the military chain of command.
  • Marco Rubio burst into the political scene as the “crown prince” of the Tea Party during the 2010 elections. Rubio, the son of an immigrant family from Cuba, has also been active in urging the GOP to reach out to Hispanic voters—a key voting bloc.
  • Martin O’Malley is not afraid of a controversial topic. During his second term as governor of Maryland, he signed laws for undocumented immigrants to become eligible for in-state college tuition, legalized same-sex marriage, repealed the death penalty, and banned assault weapons.
  • Hoping to succeed where his dad could not, Rand Paul could be the first Republican presidential nominee to also be a part of the Tea Party. Paul’s supporters consist mostly of “anti-establishment” conservatives. Paul already won multiple straw polls by early 2013.
  • Since leaving Florida’s governor’s mansion, Bush was rumored to run for the U.S. Senate in 2008 and for president in 2012. The former governor has stayed out of the spotlight in recent years, though he threw his weight behind Mitt Romney throughout the 2012 campaign.
  • With his endorsement for creationism, attempt to completely overhaul the Louisiana school system, and support to defund the Affordable Care Act, Bobby Jindal has made few liberal friends during his gubernatorial tenure. His approval ratings in red-state Louisiana however have been on the decline.
  • Cory Booker’s national ambitions are no secret, as evidenced by his campaign for U.S. Senate. As a key surrogate for President Obama in 2012, the country got a first glimpse at the mayor who made a name for himself by using social media to connect with constituents and the public.
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Rising stars for 2016

Updated

No candidates have formally entered the next presidential race, but the stage is already being set for a major battle in 2016. After a landslide victory for Democrats in the 2012 presidential election, Republicans will need to align themselves on the same page if they want a chance at the White House. From former governors to current members of Congress, here are a few potential candidates that could take the primary stages come election year.

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