Why Are So Many Republicans Running For President?

Jessica Renae Buxbaum
Really, who isn't running? South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham announced his candidacy for president on Monday.

Lindsey Graham

Joining the list of nine other Republicans hoping to win the nomination for 2016.

In addition to the official Republican candidates who have announced their campaigns already, which include Rand Paul, Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz, six other conservative stars are set to unleash themselves onto the campaign trail any day now, bringing the total to nearly 20 Republican presidential candidates vying for a spot.

Rand Paul

Why is it that almost every Republican, from the top-tier conservatives to the utterly unknown politicians, running? Ultimately it is because there is no clear frontrunner for the Republican Party so everyone is carelessly throwing their hat into the ring.

Unlike the Democratic Party, where Hillary Clinton has come out as the contender, the Republicans don’t have a noted winner yet.

With most Republican presidential races you have a next-in-line structure for who will run but as political analyst Charlie Cook points out that format is failing this election season so much so that even a Bush isn’t scaring off potential competitors.

“There is a strong sense that the hierarchical tradition of Republican presidential nominations may not apply in 2016. Jeb Bush is not intimidating anyone out of this race; the fact that this field is expanding rather than contracting underscores that point and reflects the reality that this is a wide-open contest, more so than any GOP nomination race in modern history,” Cook said.

Jeb Bush

Cook also notes that the Supreme Court’s 2010 ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission has changed the game for campaign funding.

“It is a sign that with our political process awash in money, the financial barriers for entry aren’t really there anymore,” Cook said.

With Big Money flowing in endlessly and practically unrestricted, Republicans are ruthlessly hanging on for the ride.

Beyond not having a true fan favorite yet and seemingly unlimited money, Republicans who clearly don't stand a chance aren't necessarily running for a chance at the White House but rather to get themselves in the limelight. 

“In the back of their minds, they might also see a running-mate slot or Cabinet position as a possible consolation prize…Some may have a specific issue or agenda that they want to spotlight or advance, while others are just looking to boost book sales or speaking gigs. For good measure, toss in a little ego gratification from the attention," Cook said. 

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee first ran for president in 2008, his “assets valued at less than $700,000," but now his net worth has escalated tremendously with his first presidential run even scoring him a Fox News show.

Whether they win or not, the presidential run will definitely guarantee these politicians much needed publicity and a chance to showcase their agenda. 

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