Even though the 2016 presidential campaign remains over a year away, candidates have already started hitting the campaign trail, while others continue to wait for the right time to announce their candidacy.
No matter how the field of Republican and Democratic candidates turns out, Pennsylvania will be a crucial state both in the primaries in April 2016, and in the general election on Nov. 8, 2016.
Here is a look at the major candidates who have formally announced their candidacy and their political past in Pennsylvania:
Arguably the most well known candidate in the race, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has a long history as a popular figure in Pennsylvania.
In the 2008 Democratic primary, Pennsylvania was one of the states that kept Clinton competitive with Obama. She won 55 percent of the Democratic vote in Pennsylvania, while Obama won 45 percent of the vote.
“This is a great state for Senator Clinton,” former Gov. Ed Rendell said of Clinton’s 2008 chances in Pennsylvania during a Meet the Press interview. “She’s well-known here and well-liked here.”
Clinton’s husband, former President Bill Clinton, also has a record of success in Pennsylvania: He won the state in both of his presidential elections.
More recently, in 2012 when he came to campus to campaign for Obama.
Hillary Clinton’s ability to carry Pennsylvania in the Democratic primary, and possibly in the general election as well, depends on which other Democratic candidates decide to run. So far, no other major Democratic candidate has emerged.
Whichever Democratic candidate makes it to the stage for the Democratic National Convention will accept their nomination in Philadelphia. The DNC will take place in the city from July 25-28, 2016.
Unlike Clinton, the Republicans who have declared their candidacy have very little experience in Pennsylvania.
The three major Republican candidates who have formally declared – Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul – have one thing in common: This is their first time running for president.
As a result, Pennsylvanians will have their first chance to see them on the campaign trail in April when they will arrive for the Republican primary.
In the last two elections, the Republican candidate who has won the Pennsylvania primary — Sen. John McCain in 2008 and former Gov. Mitt Romney in 2012 — has gone on to win the Republican nomination.
While the Democratic candidate has narrowly won Pennsylvania in every presidential general election since 1988, initial polls are indicating that 2016 could be a different story.
According to a poll conducted by Quinnipiac University on March 31, 45 percent of Pennsylvania voters support Paul and 44 percent of voters support Clinton when given the choice between the two candidates.
Even though Paul has a narrow lead over Clinton in Pennsylvania, the same cannot be said about other Republican candidates who have declared. The poll showed that Clinton leads Rubio by 4 percent and leads Cruz by 9 percent in head-to-head polls.
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