There is the top-tier, a group that includes former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who formally launched his candidacy on Monday. There are the single-issue candidates such as South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, who talks about national security and little else. There are even the quixotic underdogs, such as Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, ambitious against all odds.
And then there is Donald Trump.
The Donald, as he is known as a celebrity, announced his 2016 intentions on Tuesday at a Manhattan skyscraper that bears his name.
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He is a businessman, a reality television star and a master of self-promotion. Trump is positioned to have a greater impact on the early months of the Republican presidential primary contest than many GOP leaders would like.
Trump will be required to release a personal financial disclosure that would reveal intimate details about his personal finances. The disclosure will include his net worth, sources of income, liabilities and assets. He will have to reveal the same information for his wife and dependent children.
Trump is ready to do so. On Tuesday, he was expected to share details about his personal finances that reveal a net worth of $9 billion, according to a person close to his potential campaign who spoke on the condition of anonymity so as not to pre-empt the announcement.
The financial disclosure, required of all candidates for president, was thought to be the final obstacle blocking Trump from launching a 2016 campaign.
Based on guidelines recently announced by the television networks, Trump could play a prominent role in the upcoming nationally televised Republican debate in August.
Those who rank in the top 10 in national polls - and Trump currently does, although he's close to the bottom - will earn a place on the debate stage. That could place Trump in a debate alongside leading candidates such as Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and Bush.
"Selfishly, the networks would put me on because I get great ratings," Trump said in a recent interview with The Associated Press.
After forming a presidential exploratory committee in March, Trump says he has hired political operatives on the ground in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina. He has also been a frequent visitor to the early voting states in recent months.
Perhaps most significantly, he did not renew his contract with NBC for his reality show, "The Apprentice." He cannot appear on the network and run for president at the same time.
Copyright 2015 The Associated Press modified.