Jeb Bush Former Florida governor
Age on Election Day: 63
Résumé: Former Florida governor and secretary of state. Former co-chair of the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy.
Education: B.A. University of Texas at Austin.
Family: Married to Columba Bush (1974), with three adult children. Noelle Bush has made news with her struggle with drug addiction, and related arrests. George P. Bush was elected Texas land commissioner in 2014. Jeb’s father George H.W. Bush was the 41st President of the United States, and his brother George W. Bush was number 43.
Claim to fame: Jeb was an immensely popular governor with strong economic and jobs credentials. He is also one of just two GOP candidates who is fluent in Spanish.
Achilles heel: Bush has angered conservatives with his permissive positions on illegal immigration (saying some border-crossing is ‘an act of love) and common-core education standards. His last name could also be a liability with voters who fear establishing a family dynasty in the White House.
Chris Christie New Jersey governor
Age on Election Day: 54
Base: Establishment-minded conservatives
Résumé: Governor of New Jersey. Former U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey. Former Morris County freeholder and lobbyist.
Governor of New Jersey. Former U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey. Former Morris County freeholder. Former statehouse lobbyist.
Education: B.A. University of Delaware, Newark, J.D. Seton Hall University.
Family: Married to Mary Pat Foster (1986) with four children.
Claim to fame: Pugnacious and unapologetic, Christie once told a heckler to ‘sit down and shut up’ and brings a brash style to everything he does. That includes the post-9/11 criminal prosecutions of terror suspects that made his reputation as a hard-charger.
Achilles heel: Christie is often accused of embracing an ego-driven and needlessly abrasive style. His administration continues to operate under a ‘Bridgegate’ cloud: At least two aides have been indicted in an alleged scheme to shut down lanes leading to the George Washington Bridge as political retribution for a mayor who refused to endorse the governor’s re-election.
Carly Fiorina Former tech CEO
Age on Election Day: 62
Résumé: Former CEO of Hewett-Packard. Former group president of Lucent Technologies. Former U.S. Senate candidate in California.
Education: B.A. Stanford University. UCLA School of Law (did not finish). M.B.A. University of Maryland. M.Sci. Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Family: Married to Frank Fiorina (1985), with one adult step-daughter and another who is deceased. She has two step-grandchildren. Divorced from Todd Bartlem (1977-1984).
Claim to fame: Fiorina was the first woman to lead a Fortune 20 company, something that could provide ammunition against the Democratic Party’s drive to make Hillary Clinton the first female president. She is also the only woman in the 2016 GOP field, making her the one Republican who can’t be accused of sexism.
Achilles heel: Fiorina’s unceremonious firing by HP’s board has led to questions about her management and leadership styles. And her only political experience has been a failed Senate bid in 2010 against Barbara Boxer.
Mike Huckabee Former Arkansas governor
Age on Election Day: 61
Religion: Southern Baptist
Résumé: Former governor and lieutenant governor of Arkansas. Former Fox News Channel host. Ordained minister and author.
Education: B.A. Ouachita Baptist University. Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (did not finish).
Family: Married to Janet Huckabee (1974), with three adult children. Mrs. Huckabee is a survivor of spinal cancer.
Claim to fame: ‘Huck’ is a political veteran and has run for president before, winning the Iowa Caucuses in 2008 and finishing second for the GOP nomination behind John McCain. He’s known as an affable Christian and succeeded in building a huge following on his weekend television program, in which he frequently sat in on the electric bass with country & western groups and other ‘wholesome’ musical entertainers.
Achilles heel: Huckabee may have a problem with female voters. He complained in 2014 about Obamacare’s mandatory contraception coverage, saying Democrats want women to ‘believe that they are helpless without Uncle Sugar.’ He earned more scorn for hawking herbal supplements in early-2015 infomercials as a diabetes cure, something he has yet to disavow despite disagreement from medical experts.
Rand Paul Kentucky senator
Age on Election Day: 53
Résumé: US senator. Board-certified ophthalmologist. Former congressional campaign manager for his father Ron Paul.
Education: Baylor University (did not finish). M.D. Duke University School of Medicine.
Family: Married to Kelley Ashby (1990), with three sons. His father is a former Texas congressman who ran for president three times but never got close to grabbing the brass ring.
Claim to fame: Paul embraces positions that are at odds with most in the GOP, including an anti-interventionist foreign policy, reduced military spending, criminal drug sentencing reform for African-Americans and strict limits on government electronic surveillance – including a clampdown on the National Security Agency.
Achilles heel: Paul’s politics are aligned with those of his father, whom mainstream GOPers saw as kooky. Both Pauls have advocated for a brand of libertarianism that forces government to stop domestic surveillance programs and limits foreign military interventions.
Rick Santorum Former Penn. senator
Age on Election Day: 58
Résumé: Former US senator and former member of the House of Representatives from Pennsylvania. Former lobbyist who represented World Wrestling Entertainment.
Education: B.A. Penn State University. M.B.A. University of Pittsburgh. J.D. Penn State University Dickinson School of Law.
Family: Married to Karen Santorum (1990), with seven living children. One baby was stillborn in 1996. Another, named Isabella, is a special needs child with a genetic disorder.
Claim to fame: Santorum won the 2012 Republican Iowa Caucuses by a nose. He won by visiting all of Iowa’s 99 states in a pickup truck belonging to his state campaign director, a consultant who now works for Donald Trump.
Achilles heel: As a young lobbyist, Santorum persuaded the federal government to exempt pro wrestling from regulations governing the use of anabolic steroids. And the stridently conservative politician has attracted strong opposition from gay rights groups. One gay columnist held a contest to redefine his name, buying the ‘santorum.com’ domain to advertise the winning entry – which is too vulgar to print.
Rick Perry, former Texas governor
(withdrew Sept. 11, 2015)
Scott Walker, Wisconsin governor
(withdrew Sept. 21, 2015)
Bobby Jindal, Louisiana governor
(withdrew Nov. 17, 2015)
Lindsey Graham, South Carolina senator
(withdrew Dec. 21, 2015)
George Pataki, former New York governor
(withdrew Dec. 29, 2015)