Yesterday Jeb Bush announced his candidacy for the Republican nomination for president. This may have surprised some since he seems to have been running for president for some time, creating Super PACs, raising money, hiring campaign staff, giving speeches, visiting early primary and caucus states, and all the other things associated with running. But this is American politics, where candidates start by first dropping hints, then forming what is known as an ‘exploratory committee’, and defer making an ‘official’ declaration for as long as they can to avoid being bound by campaign finance rules and to create suspense. So here is a summary of who is at what stage of the process.
There has been much discussion about the large number of Republican candidates. The actual number is even larger than I suspected. They can be split into three categories: officially declared candidates, those at the exploratory stage, and those who are potential candidates:
22 Declared candidates
There are actually 22 people who have declared their candidacy for the Republican nomination. Yes, you read that right, 22!
Of these, 11 are familiar names, at least to those who follow politics fairly closely: Bush, Cruz, Carson, Fiorina, Graham, Huckabee, Pataki, Paul, Perry, Rubio, Santorum. The other 11 are people who, as far as I can tell, have never held elected office before.
Some of the unknowns are pretty interesting, such as Michael Bickelmeyer who seems to be from the Cleveland area and definitely thinking pretty far outside the box
Bickelmeyer is something of a dreamer, and has formulated some creative inventions that are interesting, to say the least. He is particularly proud of three such ideas, which he advocates as important Federal Projects, and for which he is in the process of securing patents. The first is a square shaped airport with steam-heated runways and an industrial facility at the center. The industrial structure would be used for recycling, die casting, and manufacturing. His second proposal is an independent industrial recycling plant utilizing five high-volume furnaces, which would be used for the recycling of a variety of materials including glass, plastic, and steel. Crucially to Bickelmeyer’s platform, both of these facilities would be powered strictly via clean energy generation, producing no carbon emissions and thus no contribution to global warming.
The third of Bickelmeyer’s concepts is arguably the most noteworthy. In what he calls “a gift for children”, Bickelmeyer proposes an orbital weapons platform that would function by the collection of solar radiation, which would then be magnified and directed to the surface as a lethal beam. He claims that this weapon could potentially be as precise as to eliminate a single personal target, or as broad as to effect entire countries. Bickelmeyer advocates the use of this platform against terrorism and in pursuit of the war on drugs. He stresses that, because this is not a nuclear weapon, there is no danger of radioactive fallout.
Five at the exploratory stage
Then there are those who are still in the exploratory stage but haven’t officially declared. Four of them are familiar names: Christie, Jindal, Trump, and Walker, and then there is one other person named Lynch.
Five potential candidates
These are five people who have coyly dropped hints that they are interested in running but have not actually done anything substantive towards that end: Kasich, King, Ehrlich, Gilmore, Snyder.
So even if we look at only the familiar names, those who for one reason or another have managed to garner some media attention, there is a possibility of up to 20.