Promising economic mobility and championing the middle class are key themes for candidates from both sides of the political aisle as the 2016 presidential campaign gets underway.
Most of the candidates don’t have to worry about so much about their own finances.
During her first campaign trip to Iowa Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton said “There’s something wrong when CEO’s make 300 times more than the typical worker,” highlighting income inequality as one of her top priorities.
According to the Center for Responsive Politics, Clinton is worth an estimated $15,300,000. She could continue to make more money as the campaign progresses. Former President Bill Clinton told NBC he will continue to charge six-figure speaking fees while his wife runs because he has “to pay our bills.”
The Clintons are wealthy, but they don’t have the financial security of former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, a Republican and the only other woman in the race. She is estimated to have more than four times as much as Clinton, with a net worth of $80 million.
Fiorina is by far the richest candidate currently in the race.
Retired neurosurgeon and author Dr. Ben Carson and former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee tried to play down their wealth by focusing on their humble roots.
Huckabee, who enjoyed a lucrative career as a Fox News host after his failed 2008 bid for president, owns a multimillion dollar beachfront home in Santa Rosa Beach but chose to announce his candidacy from his hometown of Hope, Arkansas.
Huckabee indirectly referenced his fellow hometown politician, former President Bill Clinton, and took a swipe at the Clintons’ wealth: “I don’t have a global foundation or a taxpayer-funded check to live off of. I grew up blue collared, not blue blooded,” said Huckabee.
Texas Senator Ted Cruz is estimated to be worth a little over $3 million, while Senator Rand Paul is worth an estimated net worth of $1,300,000, according to the Center for Responsive Politics data.
Not all of the candidates are millionaires.
Florida Senator Marco Rubio, a Republican, has an estimated net worth of $443,500, and independent Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, who is running against Clinton for the Democratic nomination, are at the bottom of the pack of official candidates.
Sanders, a self-proclaimed socialist and a staunch critic of Wall Street, has an estimated net worth of $330,507, making him the poorest candidate currently in the race.
“We now have a political situation where billionaires are literally able to buy elections and candidates,” said Sanders.
Rubio spoke about his humble upbringing while announcing his presidential bid in Miami
“When they were young my parents had big dreams for themselves … but because they were not born into wealth or power, their future was destined to be defined by their past … Here in America, my father became a bartender, my mother a cashier, a maid, a K-Mart stock clerk.” Towards the end of his speech Rubio referenced his parents again and said: “I live in an exceptional country where even the son of a bartender and a maid can have the same dreams.”