Raised in Bloomfield Hills, Mich., Mitt Romney is the son of former Michigan governor George W. Romney and was himself, the 70th governor of Massachusetts from 2003-07.
A man of Mormon beliefs, Romney leads a campaign of three important ideals: family, economy and military.
For the most part, Romney takes a traditional conservative platform. Except in the cases of rape, incest and to save the life of a mother, Romney is pro-life.
He is opposed to both same-sex marriages and civil unions but has expressed support for creating anti-discrimination policies to prevent discrimination of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered individuals in employment.
In 2005, Romney filed a bill to reinstate the death penalty for individuals who have killed multiple people or law enforcement officers, or in cases of terrorism.
A supporter of the second amendment, which guarantees citizens the right to bear firearms, Romney does not favor legalizing marijuana.
Romney also strives to be independent of foreign suppliers of oil and to increase drilling in the U.S.
Former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum was born in Virginia but raised in Pennsylvania, where he received his undergraduate degree from Pennsylvania State University. He also received his M.B.A. from the University of Pittsburgh and a law degree from the Dickinson School of Law, which are both in Pennsylvania as well.
In 1990, he married Karen Garver and they are the parents of seven children.
So far, Santorum has won the caucuses in Minnesota, Colorado and Iowa, and the Missouri primary.
Although his position on abortion remained pro-choice before running for congress, he now holds a pro-life position, and he strongly opposes same-sex marriage.
Santorum supports American oil drilling everywhere possible, and believes humans are stewards of the earth, rather than here to serve it.
Not in favor of legalizing marijuana, Santorum has held mixed views on gun control throughout his time in office, but overall supports the second amendment.
Santorum has often emphasized the important role his Christianity and family values play in making him a fit leader of the U.S.
Born in 1935, Ron Paul served as the U.S. Representative for Texas’s 14th congressional district and has entered the presidential race three times – once as Libertarian, and twice as a Republican.
After graduating from Gettysburg College and Duke University School of Medicine, he spent time in the United States Air Force delivering babies. He served in office at the same time as his son Rand Paul, the former senator of Kentucky.
Both libertarian and conservative, Paul is pro-life, and believes legalizing marijuana is a state’s constitutional right.
A lifelong Christian, Paul personally believes marriage is between a man and a woman, but also that marriages should be a private issue between individuals and their church or private contract.
Opposite of Romney, he does not believe in federal regulation of the death penalty.
Paul supports drilling for oil domestically. In terms of the second amendment, he believes individuals have the right to self-defense at home.
Born in 1943 in Pennsylvania, he received a degree from Emory University in Atlanta and earned both a Master of Arts and doctoral degree from Tulane University in New Orleans.
His first two marriages resulted in divorce, but he is still currently married to Callista Gingrich and has two children. After being raised Lutheran, in 2009 Gingrich converted to Roman Catholicism.
His experience in office includes representing Georgia’s sixth congressional district for more than 20 years and the position of the Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives.
Similar to Romney, Gingrich endorses a pro-life stance, and supports taxpayer funding of abortion services in instances of incest, rape and protecting the mother’s life.
Along with increasing attention to coal, nuclear and renewable energy resources, Gingrich has expressed interest in tapping American oil reserves.
Despite having a half-sister who is a lesbian LGBT rights advocate, Gingrich does not support same-sex marriage.
Gingrich has repeatedly expressed support for implementing the death penalty for drug smugglers and cartels.
Although he once wrote a letter in support of medical marijuana in 1982, Gingrich has since then taken an anti-legalization position.
In this year’s election there are a number of issues that stand at the forefront, aside from traditional topics such as same-sex marriage or gun control.