The Richest Presidential Candidates Of The Last 20 Years: Wealth-X
Regardless of whether Mitt Romney eventually secures the presidency this year, he’s already cemented his place in recent election history.
The former Massachusetts governor, currently on his second campaign for president, is now the third wealthiest person to have run for presidential office since the 1992 elections, according to a new report by Wealth-X. Republican candidates Jon Hunstman and Gary Johnson come in at eighth and twelfth, respectively, on the list. It’s Romney, however, whose current estimated worth of $250 million puts him among the 3,140 richest people in the nation — a group that comprises the richest 0.001 percent of Americans.
But Romney’s wealth pales in comparison to the wealthiest person to have likely aspired to the highest office in the last two decades. That honor goes to Ross Perot, now worth an estimated $3.58 billion and campaigned as an Independent in both 1992 and 1996, according to Wealth-X.
According to David S. Friedman, executive vice president at Wealth-X, the data provides a “deep insight into how and why individuals have been able to amass this level of wealth,” especially in the context of campaign finance. Romney’s time as CEO of Bain Capital, a private equity investment firm, not only allowed him to amass a fortune of his own, but also allowed for increased contributions to his campaign. The pro-Romney Super PAC Restore Our Future raised $12 million in the first half of 2011, large portions of which came from people associated with Bain.
Jon Huntsman’s wealth too may spring primarily from corporate America, with the former Ambassador to China serving as CEO of chemical company Huntsman Corporation before entering politics.
But presidential candidates aren’t the only politicians netting the big bucks. In fact, lawmakers working in the House and Senate had a combined net worth of $2.04 billion in 2010, up from $1.65 billion in 2008, according to an analysis by Roll Call.
Taking an even longer look back, it’s clear that America’s representatives have been on the winning side of income inequality in recent decades. The median income of members of the House Representatives more than doubled between 1984 and 2009, the Washington Post reports. Over that same period, the median income for U.S. families actually fell to $20,500 from $20,600, according to a study by the University of Michigan.