Many Americans are paying close attention to the issues being debated on the presidential campaign trail, like the economy, immigration and foreign policy — not to mention the wide array of personalities in the Democratic and Republican fields. But, when voters go to the polls in November 2016, they won’t only be choosing Barack Obama’s successor. They might be selecting the next first pet, too.
Not all of the candidates have pets. Republican front-runner Donald Trump hasn’t revealed whether there’s a feline or canine resident in his household. Another leader in Republican polls, Dr. Ben Carson, explained on Facebook why he doesn’t have a pet at the moment, “We are not home enough right now to be responsible pet owners, but over the years we have had many. …My favorite dog was a black German Shepherd named Echo. We still miss him.” And Sen. Bernie Sanders, D-VT, who’s been a strong candidate on the left, recently mentioned that he doesn’t have a dog.
But, many of the candidates do have four-legged best friends, and we wanted to introduce you to them. After all, there’s a chance they could be moving into the White House when Bo and Sunny, the Obamas’ Portuguese Water Dogs, move out in January 2017.
We rounded up what we’ve learned in the gallery below — and we’ll continue to update it as the race goes on!
Hillary Clinton, Democrat
When Hillary Clinton moved
into the White House as first lady, the family had a cat named Socks, and later
added a chocolate Labrador
Retriever named Buddy. The Clintons now have another chocolate Lab named
Seamus, a Toy Poodle
named Tally (who’s pictured above) and another small dog named Maisie,
according to the Daily
Mail. The former secretary of state told People
magazine in 2011 that Tally helps motivate their senior Lab to get up and get
Martin O'Malley, Democrat
Former governor of Maryland Martin
O’Malley is part of a pet-loving family. His dog Winston (the small, black dog pictured above) sadly passed away, but the O'Malleys still have Rex, the lighter colored pooch, and a cat named Sebastian. We spotted a throwback picture of his childhood dog, Louie, on his Instagram. Even his granddog, Mila, has been helping his campaign by making phone calls.
Florida Sen. Marco
Rubio and his wife Jeanette had their daughter Daniella sign a pet care
contract before bringing home a Shih
Tzu puppy, reported
Parade in September 2013. They named the puppy Manna, inspired by the phrase
“manna from heaven,” which refers to food God miraculously gave to the
Israelites in the Exodus. Two months later, the tiny puppy appeared in the family’s
Ted Cruz, Republican
In November 2014, Texas Sen. Ted
Cruz announced his family had adopted a puppy for his two young
daughters. “A few weeks ago, as they were going to
bed, Caroline and Catherine prayed, ‘Dear Jesus, please, please, PLEASE bring
us a puppy,’” he posted
on Facebook with a photo of one of the delighted girls holding the dog.
“Well, meet Snowflake, a rescue puppy who has made two little girls
Rick Santorum, Republican
who served as a senator from Pennsylvania, added an adorable German Shepherd named Darcy to his
family in June. He has said the puppy will be a companion to his daughter Bella,
7, who has special needs as a result of the rare genetic condition Trisomy
18. Darcy hasn’t shied away from politics, either. When the campaign shared
another cute Instragram picture,
they said the pup would get extra baby carrots (her favorite) whenever someone
joined Team Rick from the post.
Mike Huckabee, Republican
Mike Huckabee’s beloved
Retriever Jet passed away in 2013 at nearly 15 years old. When Jet died, the former
Arkansas governor shared a long
tribute to the dog on Facebook, and he shared
this photo and a remembrance of Jet again, in August, on National Dog
Day. “Jet Huckabee was more than just a black
Labrador Retriever — he was my inseparable companion and confidante for almost
15 years,” he wrote.