Candidates in the Next Presidential Election

The Leading Contenders for President in 2016

The candidates in the 2016 presidential election included a reality television star and billionaire real-estate mogul, a former first lady and secretary of the U.S. Department of State, a self-proclaimed Democratic socialist, and a popular Tea Party Republican who called for the impeachment of President Barack Obama.

It was an eclectic field of presidential candidates, to say the least.

Each was seeking to replace Obama, whose term is ending in January 2017 after eight years in the White House. Here's a look at a field of 2016 presidential candidates from both the Republican and Democratic parties.

Republican Donald Trump

Donald Trump
Some Republicans believed Donald Trump's unlikely 2016 presidential campaign was a Democratic ploy to make other GOP candidates look bad. Jason Davis / Getty Images Stringer

The unlikeliest of presidential candidates in the 2016 election was, by far, Donald Trump. The billionaire real estate mogul was written off by Beltway pundits and the press corps alike. Until the primaries began. And he started winning. And winning. And winning.

And so it came to be that the unlikeliest of candidates became, by early 2016, the likely nominee for the Republicans.

Democrat Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is said to be a potential 2016 presidential candidate. Brooks Kraft / Getty Images

The secretary of state, the nation's highest-ranking diplomat, under President Barack Obama has served, by most accounts, admirably and without scandal. Her foreign policy credentials are beyond question and it is certainly no secret that Clinton has aspirations to serve in the White House.

Related Story: 7 Hillary Clinton Scandals and Controversies

The former first lady to President Bill Clinton ran unsuccessfully for the 2008 presidential nomination. Her campaign skills are also sharp; most observers of her 2008 Democratic primary campaign recall her strong performances in debates with Obama, who went on to win two terms as president.

Republican Ted Cruz

Sen. Ted Cruz
Republican U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas. Andrew Burton/Getty Images

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas is considered a divisive figure in American politics, an ideological purist whose resistance to compromise on key principles make him a popular figure among Tea Party Republicans but alienate him from more moderate and mainstream members of his party.

Related: Ted Cruz Was Born in Canada But Can Still Serve as President

​Cruz announced he was seeking the Republican presidential nomination on March 23, 2015. He was the first candidate to launch a campaign for president in the 2016 election.

Related Story: How Much is Ted Cruz Worth?

Cruz has suggested Obama be impeached, one of several members of Congress who believed the president should have been forced from office.

Democrat Bernie Sanders

Bernie Sanders
U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont. Getty Images

U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders is running for president in the 2016 election. The lawmaker from Vermont, who describes himself as an independent socialist and is known for his wild unkempt shock of white hair, announced he would seek the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination. The move pits him squarely against the presumptive nominee, former First Lady and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Republican John Kasich

Ohio Gov. John Kasich
Ohio Gov. John Kasich, a former member of Congress, is a Republican who ran for president in 2016. Scott Olson/Getty Images News

Kasich once referred to himself as the "Jolt Cola" — a highly caffeinated soft drink — of Republican candidates because of his high-energy style and penchant for wearing sneakers to work. 

Kasich is making job creation, health care and student debt key components of his campaign and portrays America as still being great. "The sun is rising, and the sun is going to rise to the zenith in America again, I promise you," Kasich says.

Other Candidates

The 2016 presidential campaign began with a large field of candidates, particularly on the Republican side. Here's a look at all the candidates who ran for their party's nomination at one point or another.

Republicans: Retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson; Ohio Gov. John Kasich; former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush; New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie; businesswoman Carly Fiorina; former Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore; U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina; former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee; Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal; former New York Gov. George Pataki; U.S. Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky; former Texas Gov. Rick Perry; former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania; and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker. Democrats: former Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee; Harvard Professor Lawrence Lessig; former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley; and former U.S. Sen. Jim Webb