As much as they claim they understand the everyday American's needs and gripes, politicians really are in another class of their own, particularly when it comes to power and wealth. The GOP debate on Thursday will feature the top 10 Republican candidates running to be president (the other seven were banished to the kids table with a precursor event airing a few hours before), and there's going to be a lot of money stepping on the stage. So of course, why wouldn't we rank the first 2015 GOP debate candidates' net worth and see exactly how many money bags are sitting pretty in their lairs.
Net worth is calculated as your assets minus your debts, and while politicians can collect a nice paycheck for their service in office, that doesn't necessarily mean they're rolling in cash (as you'll see with some of the candidates participating Thursday). Host Fox News asked all Republican candidates to file their personal finances with the Federal Election Commission by the Monday before the debate, but these disclosure reports let candidates give a range of their wealth, which makes it more difficult to verify exactly how much their worth. Still, there's no doubt there are going to be plenty of filthy rich folks standing together on that stage.
1. Donald Trump: $2.9 billion - $10 billion
After he filed 92 pages of financial disclosure forms with the Federal Election Commission last month, Trump proudly boasted his net worth was $10 billion. However, experts have doubted whether that figure was accurate. Bloomberg puts Trump's wealth at $2.9 billion.
2. Jeb Bush: $19 million - $22 million
According to his public disclosure forms, Bush's net worth is anywhere between $19 million to $22 million. It's a major jump from when he left office as Florida governor in 2007, when he reported a net worth of $2.3 million.
3. John Kasich: $9 million - $22 million
In his personal financial disclosure, Kasich reported his family had a net worth somewhere in the ballpark of $9 million to $22 million. Before becoming Ohio governor, Kasich worked at Lehman Brothers — you know, the bank that went bankrupt during the economic crisis. When running for governor in 2010, Kasich released a single tax form, which showed he made $1.4 million in 2008.
4. Ben Carson: $10 million
Carson has never held elected office, instead amassing a personal fortune as a successful neurosurgeon and eventually a public speaker. According to Celebrity Net Worth, his total wealth comes in at $10 million. The Wall Street Journal puts Carson and his wife Candy's earnings from a recent 16-month period somewhere between $8.9 million and $27 million.
5. Mike Huckabee: $5 million
Huckabee's net worth is estimated at $5 million, according to TheRichest.com. For the 2008 election, Huckabee reported assets worth just six figures, but after bowing out of the race, he ran a lucrative career hosting the Fox News show Huckabee for more than six years.
6. Chris Christie: $4 million
In 2009, Christie estimated his net worth was $3.8 million so The Washington Post in April decided to conservatively assume his investments helped him reach $4 million. On their 2013 tax return, Christie and his wife Mary Pat reported $699,000 in income.
7. Ted Cruz: $2 million - $4.5 million
According to a financial disclosure released Monday, Cruz's net worth is likely somewhere between $2 million and $4 million. Nothing much has changed since he last reported his finances as a senator in 2013, but he did recently collect a cushy $300,000 advance for his memoir A Time For Truth.
8. Rand Paul: $1.3 million
Paul is estimated to be worth $1.3 million, according to CNN using data from the Center for Responsive Politics. That's a big boost in pay considering Paul reported his wealth to be at around $455,000 in 2013.
9. Marco Rubio: $443,500
Based on 2014 numbers, The Boston Globe reported Rubio's net worth comes in at just under $450,000 based on 2014 numbers. But money hasn't always been a friend to the Florida senator. Three years ago, ABC News reported Rubio had a negative net worth of $400,000 due to massive student loans and a hefty mortgage. In June, The New York Times broke down a timeline of Rubio's cash problems from throughout his political career, one that's been beleaguered with huge debts and poor financial planning.
10. Scott Walker: -$72,500
Walker had an estimated net worth of -$72,500, according to The Boston Globe. Walker also apparently is in the hole with some serious debt. On Monday, The National Journal reported the Wisconsin governor owes $20,000 in credit card debt (roughly half of which is at a 27.24 percent interest rate, mind you) as well as $100,000 in student loans for his children.