Although some of the early hype and excitement surrounding next year's presidential election has died down, the campaign is still just beginning to kick into gear. The landscape for the 2016 presidential race is becoming clearer as candidates drop out and as more people pay attention.
With each passing day, the electorate gets to know each candidate better. Prospective voters will be looking not only at the candidates' positions but and voting record but also their character and general demeanor.
Here's a brief round-up of all the latest news on the campaign trail!
- Former Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee, who actually served as a Republican and then an Independent, formally drops out of the race for the Democratic Party's presidential nominee. Chafee follows former Virginia Senator and Secretary of the Navy Jim Webb in bowing out of the contest, as neither man was polling above 1%.
- Most critics seem to agree that Hillary Clinton "won" the grueling, hours-long Benghazi hearings. This conclusion relies upon the notion that the Benghazi Committee was motivated primarily by partisan political aims, namely discrediting Clinton's bid for the presidency. The grilling dragged on for more than 8 hours.
- Retired neurosurgeon and political outsider Ben Carson has surged ahead of fellow anti-establishment candidate Donald Trump in the polls in Iowa, the first caucus state in the electoral process. Carson leads in the latest polls by a margin of 28% to 20% over Trump, who has been at the front of the Republican field for virtually his entire campaign thus far. Some analysts are attributing Carson's edge over Trump to the former's appeal among conservative Christian voters.
- Republican candidate and senator from Texas Ted Cruz, who also has a strong appeal with Christians within the GOP electorate, is currently placing third in Iowa with 13% of prospective voters choosing the junior senator as their top choice. About 30% of likely caucus-goers who support Ben Carson have indicated that Cruz is their second option.
- Former Florida governor Jeb Bush is reshuffling his campaign staff, dismissing senior staffers and slashing pay across the board by 40%, in addition to scaling back the campaign budget by 45%. The move is seen as an attempt to reboot Bush's struggling candidacy. Once the apparent front-runner for the GOP nomination, Jeb! is gaining little traction from his connections as the brother and son of former presidents.