Associated Press

The presidential election is this year, and it seems that as the campaign season draws closer, new developments are constantly stoking the fires of speculation on both sides of the aisle.

At this time last year, we compiled a list of 23 likely presidential candidates, each having expressed some interest, and all having generated considerable buzz surrounding a possible 2016 presidential run. (Spoiler alert: Donald Trump was not even on our radar.)

Read on to see how good our guesses were. The list is arranged by political affiliation and is in no particular order.

Hillary Clinton
Associated Press

Party ID: Democrat


Status: Running


Political experience: Former Secretary of State, former US Senator (New York), former First Lady of the United States and former First Lady of Arkansas

Clinton officially announced her candidacy in mid-April and is polling far ahead of her contenders, according to Real Clear Politics, making her a likely Democratic nominee.


Jim Webb
Associated Press

Party ID: Democrat


Status: Withdrew Democratic bid; considering independent bid


Political Experience: Former US Senator (Virginia), Secretary of the Navy and Assistant Secretary of Defense.

In Nov. 2014, Webb created an exploratory committee to evaluate a possible presidential election. In an open letter, posted to his website, Webb declared, “We desperately need to fix our country, and to reinforce the values that have sustained us for more than two centuries, and of which have fallen by the wayside during the nasty debates of the last several years.”


Webb dropped his Democratic candidacy in October, but is now exploring the possibility of running on an independent ticket, according to the Washington Post.


Elizabeth Warren
Associated Press

Party ID: Democrat


Status: Declined to run


Political Experience: Current US Senator (Massachusetts), special advisor for the CFPB and Chairperson of the Congressional Oversight Panel


What we wrote last year:

Warren has long been part of the 2016 conversation despite her, seeming, aversion to the idea. Her supporters have continued to read into the verb tense with which she speaks about the possibility of running. “Warren has frequently cast her denials of an intention to run in the present tense,” The Washington Times reported. “I am not running, [Warren] has said, without ruling out a run in the future." As of late she has used stronger language in declaring that she’s not running, but that’s not stopping her supporters from continuing to lobby her.


Joe Manchin
Associated Press

Political ID: Democrat


Status: Declined to run


Political Experience: Current US Senator (West Virginia), Former West Virginia Governor, Former West Virginia Secretary of State, Former West Virginia State Senator and former member of the West Virginia House of Delegates

A Twitter campaign attempting to draw Manchin into a potential run at the White House drew attention in July. While Manchin has continued to dodge the question, he told the Huffington Post in a statement that he was, “Flattered that people are encouraging [him] to run for president.” And went on to say that he, “Will have to see what the future holds.”


Martin O'Malley
Associated Press

Party ID: Democrat


Status: Running


Political Experience: Current Governor of Maryland and former Mayor of Baltimore, Md.


As early as August of 2013 O’Malley was hinting toward the possibility of throwing his hat into the presidential ring.


O'Malley is polling behind candidates Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton, and, according to CNN, will likely barely poll high enough to qualify to appear in the next Democratic debate.


Joe Biden
Associated Press

Political ID: Democrat


Status: Declined to run


Political Experience: Vice President of the United States, Former US Senator (Delaware), Chairperson of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Chairperson of the International Narcotics Control Caucus and Chairperson of the Senate Judiciary Committee


What we wrote last year:


Biden is no newcomer to politics beginning his national political career in 1973. While Biden hasn’t made any declarative statements many see his passive criticism of President Obama as indication that he may be preparing for a presidential bid. A key indicator moving forward is to see whether or not Biden maintains close allegiance with the President or if he sets out to distinguish himself from the current administration.


Bernie Sanders
Associated Press

Political ID: Independent


Status: Running


Political Experience: US Senator (Vermont), former chairperson of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, former member of the US House of Representatives (Vermont) and former Mayor of Burlington, Vt.


Sanders publicly expressed interest in running for president as early as September, according to the Huffington Post.


He is currently trailing Clinton in the polls according to Real Clear Politics.


Mike Huckabee
Associated Press

Party ID: Republican


Status: Running


Political Experience: Former Governor of Arkansas and Lieutenant Governor of Arkansas.


Huckabee kept a relatively low profile with regard to a potential 2016 run before announcing his bid in early May. He is one of a dozen Republican candidates left in the race.


Chris Christie
Associated Press

Party ID: Republican


Status: Running


Political Experience: Current Governor of New Jersey and US Attorney for the district of New Jersey


Christie entered the conversation of possible 2016 candidates following his leadership in the wake of the destruction left by hurricane Sandy.


He declared his candidacy in late June and is one of a dozen Republican candidates left in the race.

Rick Perry
Associated Press

Political ID: Republican


Status: Ran, dropped out of race


Political Experience: Current Governor of Texas, Lieutenant Governor of Texas, Commissioner of Agriculture of Texas and Member of the Texas House of Representatives

Once a frontrunner in the 2012 Republican Primary, Perry brought his presidential hopes crashing down with his “oops” moment.


He announced his bid for the 2016 seat in early June and dropped out of the race in early September


Ted Cruz
Associated Press

Political ID: Republican


Status: Running


Political Experience: Current US Senator (Texas)

Cruz has solidified himself as a champion of conservative values. The, relatively, young senator has gained wide support from the conservative base and many think he could capitalize on that backing.


Cruze declared his candidacy in late March and is one of the dozen Republican candidates left in the race.


Rand Paul
Associated Press

Political ID: Republican


Status: Running


Political Experience: Current US Senator (Kentucky)


Spring-boarded by his father’s political prominence, Paul has since stepped out of his dad’s political shadow and made a name all his own.


He announced his bid for president in early April and is one of a dozen Republican candidates left in the race.


Jeb Bush
Associated Press

Political ID: Republican


Status: Running


Political Experience: Former Governor of Florida.

Bush brings a household name, for better or worse, to his potential 2016 candidacy. He is the Republican Hillary Clinton, in the sense that most assumed he would run.


Bush announced his presidential bid in mid-June and is one of a dozen Republican candidates left in the race.


Ben Carson
Associated Press

Political ID: Republican


Status: Running


Political Experience: none

“Dr. Carson rose to political prominence last year after speaking at the National Prayer Breakfast,” according to Newsmax.com. The most impactful of his remarks, which were given in the presence of President Barack Obama, centered on his plan for universal healthcare.


Carson is one of two non-politicians who has surged ahead in the polls (the other, being Donald Trump.


Bob Corker
Associated Press

Political ID: Republican


Status: Declined to run


Political Experience: US Senator (Tennessee), Chairperson of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations and Former Mayor of Chattanooga, Tenn.


What we wrote last year:


Corker wouldn’t rule out a possible 2016 White House bid, in an interview with the Jackson Sun. The second-term Senator, known for his deeply conservative position on fiscal issues, has spoken highly of the presidency, and even hinted at his desire to run, but hasn’t officially declared whether or not a 2016 run is in the cards. He will announce sometime this year, the Jackson Sun reported, whether or not he will run.


Lindsey Graham
Associated Press

Political ID: Republican


Status: Ran; dropped out of race


Political Experience: US Senator (South Carolina), former member of the US House of Representatives (South Carolina) and former member of the South Carolina House of Representatives


“I know of no one who is better versed and more important on national security policy and defense than Lindsey Graham.” Senator John McCain, R-Ariz., declared before Graham declared his bid for the presidency.


Graham announced his bid in early June and withdrew in late December


Piyush "Bobby" Jindal
Associated Press

Political ID: Republican


Status: Ran; dropped out of race


Political Experience: Governor of Louisiana and former member of the US House of Representatives (Louisiana)


Jindal didn’t tried to hide his interest in a possible 2016 White House run.


He announced his bid in late June and dropped out of the race in mid-November


George Pataki
Associated Press

Political ID: Republican


Status:Ran; dropped out of race


Political Experience: Former Governor of New York, former member of the New York Senate, former member of the New York State Assembly and Mayor of Peekskill, N.Y.


Pataki become the self-proclaimed, “First Republican to test his presidential fever in New Hampshire,” according to the New York Times.


He declared his candidacy in late March and stepped down from his campaign in late December.


Rick Scott
Associated Press

Political ID: Republican


Status: Did not run


Political Experience: Governor of Florida


What we wrote last year:


While Scott maintains that he is focused on Florida, he isn’t stopping conservatives from throwing his name into the conversation, according to the Herald Tribune. Conservatives point to his winning record in Florida as a potential impetus for a 2016 presidential campaign. The battleground state has long been crucial in presidential elections and Scott seems to have the edge.


Rick Santorum
Associated Press

Political ID: Republican


Status: Running


Political Experience: US Senator (Pennsylvania) and former member of the US House of Representatives (Pennsylvania)


Following his unsuccessful bid to be the Republican Party’s nomination to face President Barack Obama in the 2012 presidential election, Santorum is trying again for another go at the White House.


He announced his bid in late May and is one of a dozen Republican candidates left in the race.

Scott Walker
Associated Press

Political ID: Republican


Status: Ran; dropped out of race


Political Experience: Governor of Wisconsin and former member of the Wisconsin State Assembly.


Walker’s allure seems to stem from his mystery. For a while, this relatively unknown potential republican contender avoided being in the 2016 discussion.


He announced his presidential run in mid-July, but withdrew his bid in mid-September.


Marco Rubio
Associated Press

Political ID: Republican


Status: Running


Political Experience: US Senator (Florida), former Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives and former member of the Florida House of Representatives

Before announcing his candidacy, Rubio said that while he shares a state with potential Republican opponent, Jeb Bush, it “has no bearing on what he will do,” reports the Washington Post.


Rubio announced his candidacy in mid-April and is one of a dozen Republican candidates left in the race.


Mitt Romney
Associated Press

Party ID: Republican


Status: Declined to run


Political Experience: Republican Party’s nominee for President of the United States (2012) and former Governor of Massachusetts.


What we wrote last year:


At one point Romney was so adamant about not running a third time that he told the New York Times, “Oh, no, no, no. No, no, no, no, no. No, no, no.” But he has since changed his tune. Romney told a group of Republican donors he is “seriously considering a third run for the White House.” Romney’s announcement seems to come at a crucial time for the GOP, as there is no real frontrunner. As Kirk Jowers says, “This is Romney’s way of telling people who would probably prefer to support him…that he’s thinking about it.”