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Every election year, many people aspire to be president, but only one candidate from each political party will be named on the final ballot. How do we choose the candidates who will be in the running for the White House?

Those who decide they want to run for president begin by raising money for their campaigns. The more money a person raises, the more confident he or she feels that there's a chance to win some votes at the polls. Those who don't raise much money often drop out of the race early and lend their support to the candidates who have better chances of winning.

Usually, several candidates from each party appear on the primary and caucus ballots in the spring before the final election. These preliminary elections are important because they indicate which candidates the citizens most support. Because each party's goal is to get its own candidate elected to the presidency, the candidates who win the most primary votes usually receive their parties' formal nominations at the national conventions. These official nominees are the only candidates who appear on the final ballot on Election Day in November.

So who are this year's Democratic and Republican nominees? Click on the tabs above for facts and biographies about Al Gore and George W. Bush, as well as information on the folks who initially ran against them. Or, for an in-depth look at the process the candidates go through to become president, jump to our Path to the White House.


Educators, try these lesson plans from PBS's The American President!

Creating a Biopoem on Presidential Candidates
A Delegate's Road to a Presidential Nominating Convention
The Essence of the Presidency


Questions, comments, or suggestions? Your feedback is welcome.

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