The presidential campaign season is upon us. On the Republican side, the field is crowded and wide open. Watching and reading about all of these contenders, it struck me that this is a very diverse group of people. And the more I researched the candidates, the more intriguing it became. There are some top tier candidates, so to speak, but no “crowned princes/princesses”. Many of the candidates represent what is best about America: Ordinary people who have achieved extraordinary things; people who through their God-given talents and their own hard work, have gone far in life. Some of the candidates are lawyers, of course, but we also have everything from the college professor to the air force pilot to the doctor to the beauty queen to the real estate mogul to the corporate CEO to the Godfather of pizza (whose mother was a cleaning lady, by the way).
Here is a synopsis of the background of most of the candidates or potential candidates.
Mitt Romney (64)
Romney was born and raised in Michigan. Romney is a corporate executive turned politician. He is the son of a corporate CEO and former governor of Michigan. He is highly educated and very successful in the corporate world, and he is quite wealthy. He is a Mormon and is married with four children.
Romney ran for U.S. Senate against Ted Kennedy and lost in 1994. In 2002, he was elected Governor of Massachusetts. He improved the state’s finances via spending cuts and increases in fees. One of his signature accomplishments as governor was the landmark Massachusetts health care reform, which provided near-universal health access via subsidies and state-level mandates.
In 2008, Romney ran for the Republican Presidential nomination and did well, but dropped out (McCain became the nominee).
Tim Pawlenty (51)
Pawlenty is a lawyer who got into politics at an early age and has been there ever since. He has lived his whole life in Minnesota. He is married with two daughters. He was raised as a Roman Catholic but converted to Evangelical Christian, probably due to his wife.
His career includes Eagan City Planning Commission, Eagan City Council (at the age of 28), state Representative (four terms), and Governor of Minnesota (two terms). He eliminated the state budget deficit by cutting spending and using earmarked funds. In 2007 and 2008, he served as the chairman of the National Governor’s Conference.
Pawlenty was closely involved with McCain’s presidential campaign in 2008, and began early steps for his own run in late 2009.
Rick Santorum (53)
Santorum was born in Winchester, Virginia, and grew up in West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Illinois. He is married with seven children. His wife also had another child born prematurely that lived only two hours. He is Roman Catholic.
Santorum has BA, MBA, and JD degrees. He practiced law for four years in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania before being elected to the House of Representatives in 1990. In 1994, he was elected to the U.S. Senate, at the age of 36. In 2006, he failed to win re-election in an election fraught with much controversy.
Sarah Palin (47)
Palin was born in Idaho but her family moved to Alaska when she was a few months old, and she’s been there ever since. In 1984, she came in third in the Miss Alaska beauty pageant. She attended a number of colleges and community colleges, ultimately receiving a BA from the University of Idaho in 1987. She worked briefly as a sportscaster and sports reporter. In 1988, she eloped with her high school sweetheart; they now have five children.
Starting in 1992, she was elected to the Wasilla City Council twice, then she was elected mayor of Wasilla for two terms. From 2003 to 2006, she held various appointed positions in Alaskan government. In 2006, she became the state’s first female governor and the youngest governor in Alaska’s history. In 2008, she was the Republican nominee for Vice President on the McCain ticket.
Her book Going Rogue has sold more than two million copies.
Herman Cain (45)
Cain was born in Memphis, Tennessee and raised in Georgia. His mother was a cleaner and his father was a chauffer. Cain received a BA in math and a Master’s degree in computer science while working full time for the Department of the Navy. He worked for Coca-Cola, Pillsbury, Burger King, and ended his corporate career as CEO of Godfather’s Pizza. After turning Godfather’s around, he lead a group of investors that bought Godfather’s Pizza. He was a director of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City and it’s Chairman. In 1996, he became CEO of the National Restaurant Association. He hosted The Herman Cain Show on talk radio until February, 2011.
He is married with two children, and is a Southern Baptist.
Ron Paul (75)
Ron Paul is a native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and graduate of Gettysburg College and the Duke University School of Medicine. Paul served as a flight surgeon in the U.S. Air Force from 1963 until 1968, during the Vietnam War. He worked as an obstetrician and gynecologist in Texas in the 1960s and 1970s. He was first elected to Congress in 1978. He has the most conservative voting record of any member of Congress since 1937. He has run for President three times. He has been described as a conservative, Constitutionalist, and Libertarian.
He is married with five children, and is a Baptist. His son, Rand Paul, was elected Senator from Kentucky in 2010.
Newt Gingrich (67)
Gingrich is a college professor turned politician. He was born in Harrisburg, PA in a military family. The family moved a number of times while he was growing up; he graduated from high school in Columbus , Georgia.
Gingrich has been married three times. He was a Southern Baptist but converted to Catholicism.
Gingrich represented Georgia’s 6th congressional district from 1979 to 1999. He served as Speaker of the House form 1995 to 1999. In 1995, Times Magazine selected him as “Person of the Year” for his role in leading the Republican Revolution in the house, ending 40 years of the Democrat Party being the majority. In the 1994 campaign season, Gingrich came up with the “Contract With America”, which contained ten policies that Republicans promised to bring to a vote on the House floor if they won the election, which they did. Congress fulfilled Gingrich's Contract promise to bring all ten of the Contract's issues to a vote within the first 100 days of the session, even though most legislation was initially held up in the Senate. Many aspects of the proposal were implemented in subsequent legislation.
By 1998, Gingrich had become a highly visible and polarizing figure in the national public's eye, due to political ethics lapses and events in his personal life .Gingrich announced on November 6, 1998 that he would not only stand down as Speaker of the House, but would leave the House as well. He had been handily reelected to an 11th term in that election, but declined to take his seat. He has since maintained a career as a political commentator, public speaker, and author.
Rick Perry (61)
Perry is a fifth generation Texan. He grew up on a ranch in West Texas and attended Texas A&M. After graduation, he was commissioned into the Air Force and flew C-130’s in the U.S., Middle East, and Europe. In 1977, he returned to Texas and went in to the cotton farming business with his father.
Perry served in the Texas legislature as a Democrat starting in 1984. In 1989, he switched to the Republican Party. He also was elected as Texas Agricultural Commissioner, and Lieutenant Governor. He became Governor in 2000 when George Bush resigned to become President. Perry holds all records for Texas gubernatorial tenure. He was elected to full terms in 2002, 2006 and 2010, an unprecedented feat in Texas political history. He served as Chairman of the Republican Governors Association in 2008.
Perry is married to his high school sweetheart; they have two children. He is a Methodist.
Michele Bachman (55)
Bachman was born Michele Marie Amble in Waterloo, Iowa into a family of “Norwegian Lutheran Democrats”. After her parents divorced, she was raised by her mother. She graduated from Winona State University and received law degrees from Oral Roberts University and William & Mary. She worked as a tax attorney for the IRS from 1988 to 1993. She left that position to become a full time mother.
Bachman has been a tea party, pro-life, and defense of marriage activist. In 2000, Bachman defeated an 18 year incumbent to be elected to the Minnesota Senate. Since 2007, she has served in the U.S. House of Representatives. She is a founder of the House Tea Party Caucus.
Donald Trump (64)
Trump is the fourth of five children of Fred Trump, a real-estate tycoon and developer based in New York City. Donald was inspired to follow his father into real-estate development, and began working on projects for his father's real-estate firm while still in college. Upon his graduation from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania in1968, Trump formally joined his father's company, Elizabeth Trump & Son. He took the helm in 1971 and renamed it The Trump Organization.
His extravagant lifestyle and outspoken manner have made him a celebrity for years.
Trump has done many real estate deals in New York City and elsewhere. He saw early success, but then ran into some financial and legal difficulties. These matters were worked through and he has had a resurgence in the last few years.
His television show “The Apprentice” is highly successful; he is now one of the highest paid TV personalities. In 2007, Trump received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Trump has dropped out of the race, but then said he might get back in if no “suitable” candidate emerges.
There are others I haven’t mentioned: Michael Bloomberg, mayor of New York City and the 13th richest person in America; Mitch Daniels, Governor of Indiana (who has dropped out of the race); Ron Hunstman, Governor of Utah; Paul Ryan, the man who tackled the federal budget.
This race is going to be fun ----- let ‘er rip!!!!!