Can Donald Trump Beat the Odds and Jump from Corner to Oval Office?

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Moving from the corner office to the West Wing of the White House is a tough run, but that doesn't stop America's corporate elite from trying. Few have succeeded.

The latest business titan to try the nearly impossible task is celebrity and real-estate magnate Donald Trump. In a splashy announcement from Trump Towers in New York, the The Celebrity Apprentice star made an impromptu speech sprinkled with such gems as, "I will be the greatest jobs president that god ever created" and "I will build a great, great wall on our southern border. And I will have Mexico pay for that wall."

In announcing his bid for the presidency, Trump also released documentation that claims his net worth is close to $9 billion. This isn't the first election in which he has been interested in running. Trump, now 68, was reportedly considering a bid in the 2012 election, but ultimately decided not to run.

He's not the lone corporate jockey in this election cycle. Former Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) CEO Carly Fiorina has also decided to run in 2016. Since World War II, more than a dozen corporate executives have sought the highest or second-highest office in the land -- though only two have won the presidency. 

Check out the candidates who, like Trump, straddled both the business and political worlds. TheStreet's list is derived from Information Please Database, a Pearson (PSO) subsidiary, supplemented with news reports.

1. Glen H. Taylor -- Vice Presidential Candidate, 1948

Glen Hearst Taylor was the vice presidential candidate for Progressive Party in the 1948 election, running on the ticket with Henry Wallace. President Harry S. Truman won re-election that year.

Taylor, who died in 1984, served as a senator for Idaho from 1945 to 1951, but he was also a businessman. From 1926 to 1944, Taylor was the owner and manager of various entertainment enterprises. He also was president of Coryell Construction for two years from 1950 to 1952.

Later on, after Taylor and his wife Dora moved to California, he started a business making hairpieces under the name Taylor Topper.


2. Barry Goldwater -- Presidential Candidate, 1964

Barry Goldwater was the presidential candidate on the Republican Party ticket in the 1964 election -- a race that Lyndon B. Johnson eventually won.

Goldwater, who died in 1998, was a five-term senator from Arizona, but also a businessman. His family established and owned Goldwater's, once the largest department store in Phoenix. After Goldwater's father died, Barry took over the family business in 1930. Today, Goldwater's stores -- through a series of acquisitions by predecessors -- are owned by Dillard's (DDS) and Macy's (M).


3. David H. Koch -- Vice Presidential Candidate, 1980

David H. Koch was the vice presidential candidate on the Libertarian Party ticket in the 1980 election -- a race that Ronald Reagan eventually won.

Koch is a member of the successful family-owned Koch Industries, which has interests in many businesses: refining, chemicals, biofuels, forest and consumer products, fertilizers, pollution control equipment, electronic components, commodity trading, minerals, energy, glass and investments, among other things, according to its Web site.

David Koch is executive vice president of the conglomerate. (His brother Charles is chairman and CEO.) David is also chairman and CEO of Koch Chemical Technology Group, a subsidiary.

Today, Koch is best known politically for funding conservative political causes and candidates.


4. George H.W. Bush -- Vice President, President and Presidential Candidate, 1980, 1984, 1988 and 1992

Former President George H.W. Bush was elected on the Republican Party ticket in 1988, following his two terms in office as the vice president serving under President Ronald Reagan. He defeated Democratic candidate Michael Dukakis. Bush lost in his reelection bid to Bill Clinton in 1992.

Bush had a career in the oil business. He co-founded Zapata Petroleum in 1952 and, in 1954, was named president of Zapata Offshore, a post in which he served for 10 years, and was chairman until 1966. The company is now a part of HRG Group (HRG). 

Bush took a much-talked about skydive for his 90th birthday last June.


5. Lloyd Bentsen -- Vice Presidential Candidate, 1988

Lloyd Bentsen was a four-term senator from Texas, and also served three terms in the House of Representatives. Bentsen, who died in 2006, first attempted a run for the White House in 1976 but his campaign didn't go far. In 1988, he was the vice presidential candidate on the Democratic Party ticket with Michael Dukakis running for president. It was a race that fellow Texan and then Vice President George H.W. Bush eventually won.

Outside of politics, Bentsen worked in Houston's financial sector. He founded Consolidated American Life Insurance. He also served on the board of Lockheed Martin (LMT) , as well as several oil and gas companies. In 1970, he became president of Lincoln Consolidated, an insurance and financial holding company in Houston.

6. Ross Perot -- Presidential Candidate, 1992 and 1996

Ross Perot, one of the more well-known independent presidential candidates, ran in the 1992 election and in 1996, though the second time for the Reform Party. He was defeated twice by Bill Clinton.

Perot, now 84, founded technology and equipment services company Electronic Data Systems in 1962. EDS was sold to General Motors (GM) in 1984, which operated it as a wholly owned subsidiary. General Motors sold EDS to Hewlett-Packard in 2008. It is now run as a division of H-P as HP Enterprise Services.

In 2012, Perot endorsed Mitt Romney for president.


7. Maurice "Morry" Taylor -- Presidential Candidate, 1996

Maurice "Morry" Taylor, 70, is founder, chairman and CEO of Titan International (TWI), a tire and wheel manufacturing company. In 1996, Taylor attempted to run for president for the Republican Party, but didn't get very far. Former President Bill Clinton won re-election in 1996.

8. Steve Forbes -- Presidential Candidate, 1996 and 2000

Media and publishing executive Steve Forbes attempted two runs for the White House, in 1996 and 2000 -- both as a Republican in the presidential primaries. His campaign was based on establishing a flat income tax. Forbes, 67, is still the editor-in-chief of the eponymous financial publication his grandfather founded in 1917.


9. George W. Bush -- President, 2000 and 2004

Former President George W. Bush (son of former President George H.W. Bush) succeeded in winning two terms on the Republican Party ticket in 2000 and 2004.

Like his father, the younger Bush was an oil millionaire. He was also a co-owner of the Texas Rangers baseball team. He sold his stake in the team in 1998, reportedly for 17 times his initial investment.

The former president wrote a book about his father titled "41: A Portrait of My Father," published by Crown Publishing Group, a subsidiary of Random House, in November 2014.


10. Dick Cheney -- Vice President, 2000 and 2004

Former Vice President Dick Cheney was on the ticket with the younger Bush, winning two terms in 2000 and 2004.

Despite his storied political life, which included a stint as secretary of defense from 1989 to 1993, Cheney, like his running partner, was active in the private sector, specifically the oil industry. He was chairman and CEO of energy company Halliburton (HAL) from 1995 to 2000.

Want to be like Cheney? The Republican National Committee is giving away an official Vice President Dick Cheney cowboy hat for a donation of just $72.

The former Vice President Cheney, now 74, gave a lengthy interview to Fox News chief Washington correspondent James Rosen for Playboy magazine. The interview, featured in its April 2015 issue, covers ground from Cheney's position on Ferguson to his experiences working for both Bush presidents to his daughter's sexual orientation (she is a lesbian).


11. Gary Johnson -- Presidential Candidate, 2012 and 2016

Gary Johnson was the presidential candidate on the Libertarian Party ticket in the 2012 election -- the race Barack Obama won his second term in office.

The former governor of New Mexico is also a former owner of construction company, Big J Enterprises, which he sold in 1999. Johnson is now the CEO of a medical marijuana companyCannabis Sativa.

Johnson, 62, is running for president again in the 2016 election.

12. Mitt Romney -- Presidential Candidate, 2008 and 2012

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney was the presidential candidate on the Republican Party ticket in the 2012 election -- a race where Barack Obama won a second term in office.

Romney had earlier tried to run for president. After completing one term as governor of Massachusetts, Romney took a shot at the Republican nomination in the 2008 election, losing to Sen. John McCain.

Romney, 68, is wealthy from his private sector life. He is the former CEO of management consulting firm Bain & Co., and in 1984, he co-founded spinoff Bain Capital, one of the largest private equity firms in the U.S.


13. Herman Cain -- Presidential Candidate, 2012

Tea Party activist Herman Cain gave observers a thrill when he ran for the Republican nomination in 2012. His campaign platform centered on his 9-9-9 tax plan, which would have replaced the current tax code with a 9% personal income tax, a 9% federal sales tax and a 9% business tax. He was also known for his many gaffs

Cain ended up suspending his campaign in late 2011 over sexual harassment allegations.

Cain, 69, is a seasoned restaurant industry veteran, having held positions with Burger King  (QSR), Pillsbury (owned by General Mills (GIS)) and the former CEO of Godfather's Pizza, based in Omaha, Neb. He has also been on the boards of directors of Nabisco (owned by Mondelez (MDLZ)), Whirlpool  (WHR), Reader's Digest and AGCO Corp. (AGCO), among others.

Cain is rumored to be considering running again for president in 2016, but so far, no official announcement has been made.



14. Carly Fiorina -- Presidential Candidate, 2016

Fiorina, 60 years old and a Republican, formerly announced her candidacy for the 2016 presidential election last month. She became the first woman to lead a Fortune 20 company in 1999 when she was named CEO of H-P. She left the post after being forced out by the board in 2005.

Her 2016 presidential bid isn't her first foray into politics. In 2010, she ran for a California senate seat and lost.



15. Donald Trump -- Presidential Candidate, 2016

Since forming an exploratory committee to consider running for president in the 2016 election, Trump took another step in the direction of the White House in announcing his candidacy. He may be best known as the star of hit shows The Apprentice and The Celebrity Apprentice, but he made his fortune initially in real estate. 

He is the only one who "can make America truly great again," he has said of himself on CNBC.

 

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