With the likes of property tycoon Donald Trump, former Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, savvy investor Hillary Clinton and well-connected Jeb Bush in the frame, some of the runners and riders in the 2016 race to the White House are among the wealthiest presidential candidates ever. But behind all the bluster, who is really the richest candidate and who apparently doesn’t even have two nickels to rub together? And do their bank balances have any bearing on their economic policies?
Image: Win McNamee/Getty Images
19. Jill Stein – unknown
Green Party candidate Jill Stein – whose background is in internal medicine and whose net worth is unknown – isn’t solely concerned with environmental issues. Perhaps unsurprisingly, given the size of the wallets she’s up against, Stein has argued that campaign finance needs reforming as well. She’s also called for the prioritization of “bailing out” hard-up students rather than banks.
18. George Pataki – unknown
It’s not known precisely how much former New York governor George Pataki is worth, but considering the fact that the Republican candidate was on the way to becoming a millionaire back in the mid-1990s, it’s probably safe to say that he’s doing alright for himself. Interestingly, the lawyer by trade is a longstanding believer in tax cuts.
Image: Andrew Burton/Getty Images
17. Martin O’Malley – $0
Martin O’Malley has, according to Forbes, a net worth of zero. Despite the Democratic candidate and his wife earning in excess of $600,000, the former Maryland governor apparently has the combined pressures of his four kids’ educational costs and paying back student debt to contend with financially. Interestingly, though, he favors the privatization of social security.
Image: Scott Eisen/Getty Images
16. Bernie Sanders – $330,500
Veteran Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders – who tried his hand at everything from freelance writing to filmmaking before entering politics – has a comparatively modest net worth of just over $330,500. The self-styled “democratic socialist” has a well-documented liberal approach to economic policy, believing that the wealthy should be taxed more and that social security should not be privatized.
15. Marco Rubio – $443,500
With a net worth of just over $440,000, Republican candidate Marco Rubio is practically a pauper in comparison to his wealthier party rivals. Considering the fact that he’s a career politician in his mid-40s, though, he’s still done pretty well for himself. Rubio is championing a reduced rate of corporate tax and is also strongly against higher taxes for the rich.
14. Lindsey Graham – $1.02 million
South Carolina senator Lindsey Graham, another Republican presidential candidate, has a net worth of just over $1 million. That’s a not-inconsiderable sum, however, given that his pre-politics years were spent with the U.S. Air Force, then as a lawyer for just a brief spell. Graham’s proposed economic policies are perhaps best described as “moderately conservative.”
13. Rand Paul – $1.33 million
Rand Paul notably rose to prominence while campaigning for his father Ron’s 2008 presidential bid – perhaps giving the Republican the impetus to follow in his dad’s footsteps. Paul Jr., however, achieved his relatively modest net worth of $1.33 million while working as an ophthalmologist. And while the Kentucky senator may be a moderate conservative in terms of his economic views, he is nonetheless strongly against higher taxes for America’s wealthy.
12. John Kasich – $2.5 million
Ohio governor John Kasich can largely attribute his $2.5 million net worth to his business career, which saw him become a MD at the investment banking arm of Lehman Brothers. In terms of politics, the Republican candidate has a background in welfare reform, while – like many millionaires – he opposes higher taxes for the rich.
11. Ted Cruz – $3.17 million
Few candidates epitomize the American dream as well as Republican Ted Cruz, as the child of a Cuban immigrant went on to make a fortune in America’s oil industry and is now worth a cool $3.17 million. The attorney-turned-politician is naturally conservative when it comes to the economy; in addition to opposing higher taxes, he favors private pension plans.
10. Bobby Jindal – $3.9 million
Bobby Jindal may be a career politician, but the first Indian American to have been voted in as a governor has amassed, according to Reuters, a personal fortune of somewhere between $3.9 and $11.3 million – all thanks to savvy investments. Perhaps unsurprisingly, then, the Republican candidate is not keen on higher taxes for the rich.
9. Chris Christie – $4 million
Before entering politics and, in 2010, becoming the Governor of New Jersey, Chris Christie had a distinguished legal career. The Republican – who has criticized President Obama’s “redistribution of wealth” policies – now has his sights set firmly on the White House. If Christie doesn’t get there, though, at least he has a comfy financial cushion of $4 million to tide him over while he considers his next move.
8. Rick Santorum – $5 million
Longtime Republican Rick Santorum’s net worth stood somewhere between $880,000 and $1.9 million when he last ran for president in 2012. This time around, he’s worth even more – around $5 million, as the lawyer has also raked it in as a consultant. Santorum is vehemently opposed to higher taxes for the rich.
7. Mike Huckabee – $5 million
Onetime Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee has amassed a personal fortune of $5 million – and not only via his political career, but also through his work as a commentator, author and in the ministry. Among the Republican candidate’s most striking policy proposals is his wish to massively increase military spending.
6. Jim Gilmore – $7 million
Described by The Washington Post as “the hermit candidate” of the 2016 presidential race due to his lack of campaigning, Republican Jim Gilmore is worth approximately $7 million. And while the onetime Virginia governor and former lawyer is a proponent of a progressive form of income tax, he’s still firmly against raising taxes for the wealthy.
Image: Joe Raedle/Getty Images
5. Ben Carson – $10 million
Talented neurosurgeon Ben Carson’s medical achievements have led to him being named a “Living Legend” by the Library of Congress. What’s more, Carson’s net worth comes in at around $10 million – a tidy sum that’s no doubt been bolstered by his impressive book sales. Among the Republican candidate’s economic ideas are a “flat tax” to replace the existing tax structure and potentially wholesale changes to welfare.
4. Jeb Bush – $20.5 million
Jeb Bush is almost certainly best known for his presidential relations and for his stint as Governor of Florida from 1998 through 2007. What’s arguably less public, though, is the fact that the Republican candidate had a thriving career in realty ahead of entering politics – something that has no doubt contributed to his $20.5 million net worth. Among his economic proposals is the reduction of the rate of corporate tax to 20 percent, from the current 35 percent.
Image: Scott Olson/Getty Images
3. Hillary Clinton – $21.5 million
It’s reckoned that Hillary Clinton charges a minimum of $200,000 for speaking engagements – and it’s this, combined with a series of successful investments, that partly explains the Democratic frontrunner’s $21.5 million wealth. Her proposed economic policies include clamping down on the “criminal behavior” of high-frequency traders and investment funds.
2. Carly Fiorina – $59 million
With $59 million to her name, Carly Fiorina is one of the richest candidates targeting the Oval Office. The Republican made her fortune during a distinguished tech career, which culminated in her heading Hewlett-Packard at the turn of the millennium. Among Fiorina’s economic proposals is the introduction of additional tax cuts for small businesses.
Image: Spencer Platt/Getty Images
1. Donald Trump – $4.5 billion
There was never really any doubt, was there? Republican Donald Trump, with his $4.5 billion fortune, is by far the richest candidate – and the tycoon reckons that he’s actually worth more than $9 billion. “The Donald” hasn’t given too much away about his economic policies should he actually become Commander-in-Chief, though he has claimed that he will be “the greatest jobs president that God ever created.”