Many candidates from the Democractic and Republican parties hope to be elected President in 2016 and become the next resident of the White House.
Before you know it, school will be out. Summer will come and go, and a new school year will pass, followed by another summer and another school year. Only then, in November 2016, will it finally be time to elect a new President—and a new resident for 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, the White House. That might seem like a long time from now, but the contest to fill the nation’s top job has already begun. Many candidates have officially entered the race.
Before American voters can decide who will become President, the candidates have to compete to win the nomination of their political party. Democrats run against Democrats, and Republicans against Republicans. These competitions are called primaries or caucuses. They take place in every state, beginning with Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina in early 2016. The primaries are like a tournament, except no one gets eliminated just for coming in last. Candidates keep competing until an overall winner emerges. In the summer of 2016, the political parties will hold their national conventions and make their nominations official. Only then will the winners of each party’s nomination square off against each other in the general election.
The Republican Party’s contenders include several current U.S. senators—Ted Cruz of Texas, Rand Paul of Kentucky, and Marco Rubio of Florida. Also in the race are former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, former New York Governor George Pataki, retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, former business executive Carly Fiorina, and former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania. Not everyone who is expected to run has officially made an announcement yet. Other Republicans expected to join the race include former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, and former Texas Governor Rick Perry.
The Democratic Party’s field of candidates is far less crowded. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is the early favorite to win the nomination. She also served a term as a U.S. senator from New York and was the First Lady during husband Bill Clinton’s two-term presidency. U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, an Independent, and former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley have also announced that they would seek the Democratic nomination. Other potential candidates include former U.S. Senator Jim Webb of Virginia and former Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee. The primary season is likely to hold many surprises as presidential hopefuls begin debating one another and meeting voters face to face.