Hillary Clinton has officially launched her campaign for the presidency after months
of speculation and it's unlikely she'll be seriously opposed for the Democratic nomination.
The field of Republican candidates, however, is cluttered.
The establishment’s favorite is former Florida governor Jeb Bush. He has yet to announce, but
has formed an exploratory committee which means he is running. Jeb Bush has a strong name recognition - as his brother and his father can prove. He has a consistent conservative record as governor of Florida from cutting government spending and stand-your-ground law, but he also worked on restoring the Everglades, improving education and even giving undocumented immigrants’ drivers licenses which allows him to appeal to the center, although it may make him less popular with the old guard.
His strong support among Republican donors makes the leader of the candidate pack for now, but he doesn't have the nomination in the bag.
An up-and-coming opponent, Scott Walker, is becoming formidable polling high numbers in New Hampshire. The current governor of Wisconsin has strong conservative credentials as shown especially with his stance on unions. Governor Walker survived a recall vote in 2012 and won his second term last year, despite strong opposition from labor unions and Democrats. However, he has no record on foreign policy and cannot hold his own against the press. He is a strong contender for the candidacy, but he has a lot of shortfalls to overcome.
Ron Paul, a strong libertarian who ran in 2008 and 2012, is not running for president but his son, Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky, is. Unlike his father, Rand Paul has been reaching out to constituencies that previously voted Democrat - from speaking at a historic black university, to meeting with Silicon Valley entrepreneurs.
His political views are consistently conservative but he still has libertarian ties that would let him tap on his father’s base and remain heard from government surveillance to crime. His campaign is largely resting on a gamble that he would help diversify the Republican party and, maybe, ensure its survival. Only time will tell if Rand Paul’s creative strategy will pay off.
The last candidate, Florida senator Marco Rubio announced his candidacy from the Freedom Tower in Miami. The former Florida speaker turned senator became a fresh face for the Republicans after introducing Mitt Romney in the RNC Convention in 2012, and giving a rebuttal to the President’s State of the Union.
While Senator Rubio has a strong strong Tea Party record, the main problem was co-sponsoring and voting for immigration reform back in 2013 hurting his ties to his base. It isn’t clear if he can reconcile with his base - he has a lot of ground to recover.
Of course there are many other candidates out for the Republican Party, from Ted Cruz to Chris Christie , but this smorgasbord of candidates could potentially divide the party before the nomination.