Definition of a Candidate

A candidate is a person who wants to be chosen for a role in government, like a mayor or even the President. Think of a job interview: the candidate is the person being interviewed for the job, but instead of one interviewer, there are millions – all the voters. They explain why they’re the right person for the job and ask people to vote for them.

Another simple way to think about a candidate is like a player on a sports team who’s trying to get picked to play in the big game. They must show they have the skills and the ideas that make them the best choice. They have to work hard to convince the coaches, who in this case, are the voters, that they deserve a spot on the team.

Types of Candidates

There are different types of candidates, depending on what job they want in the government. Here is a list of some common types:

  • Presidential Candidate: This person wants to lead the entire country as the President.
  • Congressional Candidate: These candidates are trying to become US Senators or Representatives and work in Congress, making laws for the country.
  • Gubernatorial Candidate: A person who wants to become the leader or governor of a state.
  • Local Government Candidates: These candidates are running for local positions like mayor, which is like the President but for a city, or for a spot on the city council, which makes decisions for the city.

Examples of Candidates

Candidates are the people you hear about during election times, wanting your vote to secure a government position. Here are some examples and why they are candidates:

  • Presidential Candidates: People like Barack Obama, Donald Trump, and Joe Biden ran campaigns, shared their ideas, and asked for votes to become President.
  • Congressional Candidates: Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, for the Senate, and Nancy Pelosi and John Lewis, for the House of Representatives, all hoped to be part of the team that writes our nation’s laws.
  • Gubernatorial Candidates: Andrew Cuomo and Greg Abbott campaigned within their states with the goal to lead and guide their state’s policies and actions.
  • Local Government Candidates: Leslie Knope, though a made-up character from a TV show, reflects someone fighting for a spot in local office, aiming to make decisions that directly affect her neighbors.

Why Is It Important?

The role of candidates is vital because they help us decide who will make the rules that we all live by. These people put forward their ideas about how to improve our communities – ideas on how to make our streets safer, our schools better, and our environment healthier.

Candidates encourage discussions on different topics, giving us a chance to think about what matters most to us. When we better understand candidates’ positions on things that affect our day-to-day life – like public transportation, safety, and jobs – we can make better choices on who we want to represent us.


The word “candidate” has been used for a really long time. Its roots are in ancient Rome, where people who wanted to be elected would wear white to stand out. Even though we don’t wear special togas anymore, the idea remains the same: standing out to the public to gain support.


Running for office isn’t always easy or straightforward. Here’s why:

  • Money in Politics: When candidates get a lot of financial support, it raises concerns that the wealthy have too much power in deciding who wins.
  • Election Interference: Sometimes, people worry about cheating or other unfair methods that could sway the election.
  • Character Issues: If a candidate has a shady past or isn’t trustworthy, it can cause voters to question their choices.
  • Eligibility: Sometimes, there’s confusion or disagreement about whether a person is legally allowed to run for an office.

Related Topics

Here are some topics related to candidates and a brief explanation of each:

  • Political Campaign: This is all the work a candidate does to win an election, like advertisements, speeches, and debates.
  • Voting: The act of choosing a candidate in an election. Every vote is a voice on which candidate should lead.
  • Political Parties: Groups that support candidates with similar ideas, like the Democrats or Republicans in the United States.
  • Primaries and Caucuses: These are like the try-outs for candidates. They compete to see who will represent their political party in the big election.
  • Democracy: It’s a form of government where the people get to decide who leads them by voting for candidates.

Impact of Candidates on Society

Candidates’ ideas and the policies they support can change society in many ways. For example, a candidate might make education a priority and change how schools work to benefit students. If they care about the planet, they might make rules to protect nature.

The decisions they make in office can influence how much money is taken out of our paychecks for taxes, or what kind of doctors we can see when we’re sick. That’s why it’s important to know about the people who are running for office and what they stand for. Their impact goes beyond their time in office and can shape our society for years to come.


To sum everything up, candidates are essential in our government. They are the people who ask for our vote and tell us how they plan to improve things. From big roles like the President to local jobs like a city council member, they are all trying to make a difference in how our country is run.

Learning about candidates helps us understand more about politics and our role as voters. It’s like being a team captain and picking the best players for your team – the better you understand the players, the better your team will be. As citizens, by voting, we get to build the team that leads our government and affects our lives every day.