Meet the Spouses of the 2016 Presidential Contenders

The women - and men - behind the next commander-in-chief.

April 13, 2015, 8 a.m.

The 2016 election frenzy is holding a firm grip on Washington. Ted Cruz, Rand PaulHillary Clinton, and Marco Rubio are just a few among the 21 contenders to have announced.

But not much attention has been paid to the spouses of 2016 front-runners. From a former cheerleader to a Goldman Sachs executive and, yes, a former president, many of these potential candidates’ spouses have respected careers in their own right.

Consider this your official invitation to get to know them and pay attention—one of these might just be the next first lady (or gentleman).

Libby Pataki is the director of Putnam County Tourism and worked on the I Love NY campaign. She also advocates for breast cancer and other women's health issues, as wealth as children's health.  National Journal
Lincoln and Stephanie Chaffee knew each other since teenagers and have been married for 25 years. Stephanie was one of the first nurses to focus on AIDS research, supports state hospitals and was the first citizen of Rhode Island to have the approval to officiate a civil union for two of her friends.
Melania Knauss-Trump, originally from Slovenia, is a former model, appearing in magazines such as Vogue and Harper's Bazaar. Most recently she launched a jewelry line through QVC in 2010. National Journal
Jeanette Dousdebes is currently a full-time mother. She is a former Miami Dolphins cheerleader. National Journal
Kelley Paul is working on an oral history of stories about strong women. Kelley met Paul at a 1989 backyard oyster roast in Atlanta. National Journal
Columba Bush was born in León, Guanajuato, Mexico. She isn't particularly involved with politics, but she is involved with arts and domestic violence philanthropies.
Heidi Cruz is a managing director at Goldman Sachs. She met Ted Cruz while working on George W. Bush's presidential campaign in 2000. National Journal
Jane O'Meara Sanders is the former president of Burlington College and commissioner of the Vermont Economic Development Authority. National Journal
The Carsons met while they were undergraduates at Yale. Candy cofounded the Carson Scholars Fund with her husband. The Carson Scholars Fund "supports two main initiatives: Carson Scholarships and the Ben Carson Reading Project." National Journal
Frank Fiorina is a retired AT&T executive. National Journal
Janet Huckabee was heavily involved in Habitat for Humanity projects in her time as Arkansas first lady. In 2002, she ran for Arkansas secretary of state, while her husband ran for re-election as governor. She lost the election, but he won. National Journal
Karen Kasich was a vice president for GSW Worldwide before having children and becoming a mother full-time. National Journal
Mary Pat Christie is a managing director at Angelo, Gordon & Co. National Journal
Katie O'Malley is a former assistant state attorney and associate judge for the first district court of Maryland. National Journal
Bill Clinton served as the 42nd president of the United States. National Journal
Lawrence Lessig is married to Bettina Neuefeind, a social justice lawyer and Research Fellow at Harvard Law School. Lessig 2016

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