Not a week has gone by recently without an announcement of a run for the White House. And the race to join the race isn’t over yet. At least two more serious Republican candidates have still not announced — governors Scott Walker and John Kasich.
Democrats, one the other hand, have settled down more or less, with only vice-president Joe Biden left to make up his mind.
The score so far, thus: four Democrats and 14 Republicans.
Some of them may drop out between now and the debates and the primaries, but the Republican field as it stands now looks daunting compared to the nine who made it to the first debate in in the 2012 cycle. Only the first 10 in national poll averages will make it to the nationally televised debates this time.
Democrats: 4, and looking
Hillary Clinton, 67
Who is she? Former first lady, former senator from New York state and former secretary of state, she is the formidable frontrunner who has the party nomination in the bag and. some say, even the White House
Chances: If elections were held today, Clinton will win the White House handily, becoming the first woman president. She leads every candidate in the fray and still considering, in either party, according to a Real Clear Politics (RCP) average of polls. But has been hit by a stream of controversies — foreign funding of the Clinton Foundation and her use of private email, hosted on a private server, as secretary of state.
Bernie Sanders, 73
Who is he? Five-term member of the House of Representatives from Vermont, he is now a two-term member of US senate — as an Independent who has tended to caucus (vote and legislatively cooperate and coordinate) with Democrats.
Chances: He is trailing Clinton as a distant third, even behind vice-president Joe Biden, who is not in the race yet.
Lincoln Chafee, 62
Who is he? Two term member of the US senate as a Republican, he became governor of Rhode Island as an independent, and co-chair of Barrack Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign. And he is now a full-fledged Democrat.
Chances: Chafee wants to make the US switch to globally acceptable International System of Units — from miles to kilometers, for instance. But poll numbers don’t give him much of a chance to do it as president.
Martin O’Malley, 52
Who is he? Got his fist big political break as mayor of Baltimore, Maryland state’s port city known for its troubled crime rates and race relations. He went on to win two terms as governor of Maryland.
Chances: He is doing better than Chafee, but trails both Biden, who, once again, is not officially in the race yet, and Sanders. May be vying for the running-mate slot, according to some commentators.
Republicans: 14, and counting
Jeb Bush, 64
Who is he? After several private sector jobs and positions, he jumped into politics, went on to become two-term governor of Florida. He is the younger son and brother of two past presidents
Chances: Tops polls of Republican candidates, according to the RCP average of polls, but struggles to shake-off the baggage that has come with the famous family name, including a sense of fatigue — not another Bush.
Donald Trump, 69
Who is he? A colorful real estate tycoon from New York who has said he is worth $9 billion, star reality TV host, finally took the plunge and decided to run for president after several near-misses.
Chances: Has done surprisingly well in polls recently, but has alarmed the party establishment with his rude take-down of people and electorally signifiant demographics such as the Hispanics
Marco Rubio, 44
Who is he? Lawyer by training, this Cuban-American is a two-term member of Florida state legislature, speaker of the state house, and member of US senate
Chances: His appeal to both the establishment and Tea Party activists saw him do well in polls initially, but he has since floundered; remains at top of the heap though in the RCP average
Ted Cruz, 44
Who is he? Trained in law at Harvard, like Obama, this Cuban-American, who was born in Canada, served as legal adviser to George W Bush’s campaign and as a senior official in him justice department before moving to Texas, his home-state, as solicitor general. He is now a US senator.
Chances: Sharp-tongued bomb-thrower invites strong likes and dislikes; has struggled with poll numbers, but is likely to make it to primary debates as he has been in the top 10 of averages
Rand Paul, 52
Who is he? An ophthalmologist, Paul’s first jump into politics was a run for the US senate, and he won. Libertarian son of a famously libertarian father, Ron Paul, who ran for president twice, he is a one-term senator from Kentucky, the bourbon whisky state.
Chances: A favourite of libertarians, who want the US to mind its own business and get the government out of most things at home, his poll numbers have been a shade short of the top five.
Carly Fiorina, 60
Who is she? A former CEO of Hewlett Packard, whose tenure was so controversial some critics branded her anti-Steve Jobs. She ran for the US senate in 2009 from California, and lost.
Chances: Despite being the only woman candidate in the running for the party nomination, she has failed to excite the party; her poll numbers have languished at the bottom.
Ben Carson, 63
Who is he? First foray into politics for this African American neurosurgeon, selected by the Library of Congress in 2001 as one of its 89 "Living Legends".
Chances: As an African American candidate in a party that has traditionally not done well with minorities, his candidacy found early and easy traction. Has finished in top five in all polls, and the RCP average.
George Pataki, 70
Who is he? He was governor of New York state at the of the life-changing 9/11 attacks, but lost the limelight to the flamboyant New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani.
Chances: He may as well not be running; has not figured in any polls, finds no mention in RCP averages.
Rick Santorum, 57
Who is he? Two-term member House of Representatives, and two-term member of the US senate from Pennsylvania, he finished second to Mitt Romney in the race for the Republican ticket in 2012.
Chances: In the bottom half in term of numbers, he may yet make a race of it as he did in 2012, when he came dangerously close to the frontrunner.
Mike Huckabee, 59
Who is he? Three-term governor of Arkansas, President Bill Clinton’s home state, this is his second run for the White House, He has a massive support base among Evangelicals, Christians who believe in the primacy of Bible over the church.
Chances: After his first failed run, he used a weekly show on Fox keep himself firmly in public view, specially his brand of social and religious conservatism. His numbers put him in the top five.
Lindsay Graham, 59
Who is he? Four-term member of the House of Representatives, and three-term member of the US senate from South Carolina, he is a national security hawk closely aligned with John McCain who ran against Barrack Obama in 2008.
Chances: His folksy campaign style and hawkish comments have made news but not given him much of a shot at the party ticket. He has finished last in most polls, though better than Pataki.
Rick Perry, 65
Who is he? A three-term governor of Texas, who got a first stab at the job as lt governor when George W Bush, then governor, moved up the ladder. He ran for president in 2012 but left the race after badly bungling a simple question in one of the primary debates.
Chances: After his ignominious exit from the 2012 race, Perry nerded-up — started wearing glasses, spent enormous of time reading and consulting academics and experts. But has yet to excite voters, though he may finish in top 10.
Bobby Jindal, 44
Who is he? Two-term member of the House of Representatives and two-term governor of the southern state of Louisiana, he is the most accomplished Indian American politician ever, but hates to be identified by his heritage, which has made him immensely unpopular in the community and on ethernet.
Chances: Once a rising star in the party, Jindal has struggled, partly because of an indifferent to bad tenure as governor. He is at the bottom in poll averages. But he is not worried, arguing he was in a similar situation when he started running for governor.
Chris Christie, 52
Who is he? Two-term governor of New Jersey is known for his bluntness; was once a frontrunner but has since seen his popularity dip because of missteps by his administration.
Chances: He hopes to recapture his earlier magic and appeal, and may vault into the top bracket with his combative town-hall campaign style. His poll numbers put him around the middle to the table, with Cruz and Perry.