Donald Trump and the Richest Presidential Candidates of All Time
Most presidential candidates have money. In fact, when it comes to the richest presidential candidates of all time, only a select few have fortunes less than six figures. Many of these politicians love to push an “everyday American” narrative, claiming they are just like you and me — except that most every day Americans don’t usually spend more than a billion dollars on a chance for power like the Clintons did this past election season.
The Clintons may be one of the richest presidential duos ever, but they’re not the only politicians who spend money just because they can. The country’s top two richest presidential candidates are billionaires while the other earners are still swimming in millions.
Who are the richest U.S. candidates of all time? Here are the top 15 contestants.
1. George W. Bush: $40 million
- Net worth: $40 million
Former president George W. Bush is one of the richest politicians around. He hails from money but managed to earn a few bucks on his own by investing in the Texas Rangers baseball team and developing several independent oil companies.
Of course, the book deals and speaking arrangements he nabbed post-presidency helped pad his bank accounts. He’s worth about $40 million today.
Next: A former president slated to make big money soon
2. Barack Obama: $40 million
- Net worth: $40 million
Barack Obama was worth about $1.3 million upon entering the White House. Today, his net worth has skyrocketed to around $40 million — though this is slated to become much higher thanks to pending book deals and public speaking fees.
Research estimates the Obamas could earn over $200 million in the next 15 years, which proves that being a former U.S. president is one of the most lucrative jobs available.
Next: A mayor turned public speaker
3. Rudy Giuliani: $45 million
- Net worth: $45 million
Rudy Giuliani is most renowned for his tenure as the Mayor of New York City. He was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II for his leadership after the 9/11 attacks.
Though Giuliani was thought to be a GOP front-runner in the 2008 presidential elections, he withdrew to support Senator John McCain’s run for the nomination. He has since amassed a sizable $45 million fortune, thanks to his work as a politician, lawyer, and public speaker.
Next: Even money couldn’t squelch this politician’s former controversy
4. Ted Kennedy: $49 million
- Net worth: $49 million
Some rich presidential candidates can successfully sweep controversy under the rug with money. This was not the case for Ted Kennedy.
His deadly scandal at Chappaquiddick is believed to have sunk his presidential campaign when he challenged President Jimmy Carter for the 1980 Democratic nomination. But his familial influence awarded him a long-standing Senate seat in Washington and a personal net worth of about $49 million.
Next: A senator with a secret
5. John Edwards: $55.5 million
- Net worth: $55.5 million
John Edwards made two attempts for the White House. The first time as Senator John Kerry’s running mate who lost to President George W. Bush, and the second as a 2008 Democratic presidential candidate.
Both runs cost him significant amounts of money, especially once he confessed to a scandalous affair that tarnished his reputation. However, his fortune remained intact once he turned his attention to law. He amassed $55.5 million representing clients in lawsuits against large corporations.
Next: One of the richest presidential candidates was a woman
6. Carly Fiorina: $60 million
- Net worth: $$60 million
Carly Fiorina was one of the richest presidential candidates for the 2016 U.S. presidential election. She declared her run for the Republican nomination after serving as John McCain’s campaign adviser in 2008. But before that, she amassed a $60 million net worth as the first female CEO of a top American company, Hewlett-Packard, where she served for six years.
Next: Conflicting monetary numbers for this man
7. Bill Clinton: $80 million
- Net worth: $80 million
Differing estimates surrounding Bill Clinton’s net worth make it hard to pinpoint just how much money he’s earned throughout his career. He famously claimed his family left the White House dead broke, but Forbes suggests he and Hillary have made $240 million over the last 15 years thanks to lucrative book deals, speaking fees, and private consulting. This includes a $15 million book advance for his 2004 memoir, My Life. Still, celebrity net worth estimates Bill’s fortune to be just $80 million, officially.
Next: Another Kennedy
8. John F. Kennedy: $100 million
- Net worth: $100 million
JFK swam in controversy alongside his brothers but was able to charm his way into becoming the 35th president of the United States. Joseph P. Kennedy put the bulk of their fortune made from insider trading into trusts that now spans approximately 30 family members, according to Forbes.
Next: John Kerry’s good fortune
9. John Kerry: $194 million
- Net worth: $194 million
John Kerry is a former U.S. Secretary of State. Prior to that, he challenged George W. Bush for the presidency in 2004 as the Democratic nominee.
Much of his $194 million net worth is family money, but none of that compares to his wife, Teresa Heinz Kerry’s, fortune. She married into the Heinz (yes, the ketchup) family in 1966, and became the heiress when Henry John Heinz III died in a helicopter crash in 1991.
Next: A man whose wealth hurt his presidential campaign
10. Mitt Romney: $250 million
- Net worth: $240 million
Mitt Romney, who unsuccessfully ran for president against Obama in 2012, is one of the richest presidential candidates of all time. He made his money creating Bain Capital, a private equity firm whose most lucrative acquisition was its $188.8 million buyout of Domino’s in 1999.
His unprecedented wealth prompted opposers to deem Romney “out of touch” with everyday American struggles, but it’s also worth noting that Mitt Romney gives a sizable portion of his $250 million fortune to charity.
Next: Al Gore’s net worth
11. Al Gore: $300 million
- Net worth: $300 million
Al Gore’s controversial loss to George W. Bush in 2000 allowed his net worth to almost triple. According to Celebrity Net Worth, Gore sold Current TV to Al Jazeera for $500 million. He owns $35 million worth of Apple shares and serves as a board member of Apple Inc. And let’s not forget the six-figure profits he earns from public speeches inflated by his film, An Inconvenient Truth.
Next: A man who ran for president … twice.
12. Steve Forbes: $430 million
- Net worth: $430 million
With financial backing around $430 million, it was easy for Steve Forbes to run for — and lose — the Republican presidential nomination twice. He ran on the premise of business leadership as the grandson of the founder of Forbes magazine. Despite his failed political attempts, he’s continued to endorse other Republican candidates, often contributing large sums of money to their campaigns.
Next: A founding father’s net worth
13. George Washington: $525 million
- Net worth: $525 million
It only makes sense to include the father of the country in our rundown of the richest presidential candidates. To put it bluntly, George Washington was loaded.
Washington owned thousands of acres of land at Mount Vernon (including a distillery) and he earned a salary that equated to 2% of the total U.S. budget in 1789. Washington’s overall net worth would total about $525 million in today’s dollars.
Next: Someone who challenges Donald Trump’s net worth
14. Ross Perot: $3.7 billion
- Net worth: $3.7 billion
Ross Perot is a self-made tech billionaire, having founded Electronic Data Systems then selling it to General Motors for $2.4 billion in 1984. Perot Systems was sold to Dell for $3.9 billion just four years later.
Perot’s third-party bid for the presidency in 1992 was unsuccessful, but many believe his business-focused conservatism would’ve been more popular given the rise of the Tea Party Movement and Trump’s recent political victory. Celebrity Net Worth estimates his fortune to be about $3.7 billion.
Next: The richest presidential candidate of all time
15. Donald Trump: More than $3.1 billion
- Net worth: $3.1 billion
President Donald Trump is by far, the richest person to ever run for president. Though Celebrity Net Worth lists his fortune as less than Ross Perot’s, Trump insists he’s worth about $8.7 billion in total. Other sources say it’s likely closer to $3.1 million.
Trump’s real estate and other lucrative business ventures have paid off, no doubt, but there is discrepancy surrounding how much his personal brand is worth. Trump himself believes his name awards him an additional $3.3 billion in net worth, which is likely to climb as his presidency moves forward.
Follow Lauren on Twitter @la_hamer.
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