There are 19 public figures running for president.
Fourteen of them are Republicans; five are Democrats. And all of them have announced in the past four months.
This election cycle has more contenders than usual, and their numbers are still growing: Two candidates on the Republican side—John Kasich of Ohio and Scott Walker of Wisconsin, both governors—plan to announce this month. And the Democrats could see their own addition if Vice President Joe Biden decides to run. His entry would bring the total number of presidential candidates up to 22—22!—still well over a year before the general election.
The sheer numbers got us thinking: How many candidates were running for president at this point in time in past presidential cycles? Take a look below at how the fields developed during the 2012, 2008, and 2004 primary campaigns. Note: Some of the candidates below are longer shots than others. We tried to limit our list to those with at least a semi-national profile and/or who participated in their parties' respective debates. Apologies to the hundreds of Americans who've filed their candidacies without fanfare or favor in past years.
BY JULY 6, 2011:
By early July, the cast of GOP characters looking to trounce incumbent Barack Obama had grown to nine, and they'd all gotten a later start compared with contenders in the current primary campaign. Former New Mexico governor and long-shot candidate Gary Johnson got the ball rolling with his announcement in late April 2007, and he was soon joined by Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul, Herman Cain, and Tim Pawlenty in May; and Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum, Michele Bachmann, and Jon Huntsman in June.