The 2016 Presidential Name Game

Why presidential hopefuls are sticking to their first names.

— -- The 2008 presidential election was all about the last names – from campaign names to headlines.

Fast forward seven years later and Republican and Democratic hopefuls are sticking to their first names. So, who actually goes by their birth name?

Spoiler alert -– not as many candidates as you think.

The Republican hopeful, Carly Fiorina, got the name Carly from her middle name Carleton. The Texas native was born Cara Carleton Sneed.

The former Texas Sen. Ted Cruz was born Rafael Edward Cruz. Cruz adopted the nickname Ted at the age of 13 after being teased by his classmates about his original nickname, Felito.

The first Indian-American governor elected in U.S. history, Piyush Jindal, adopted the name Bobby at the age of four after the youngest character in the 1970’s sit-com, “The Brady Brunch.”

Sen. Rand Paul didn’t always go by Rand. He was born Randal Howard Paul and growing up he went by Randy. However, after getting married, his wife shortened his original nickname to Rand.

LARRY LESSIG

Despite his low poll numbers, Larry Lessig is in the running for the Democratic nomination for president using the shortened version of his middle name Lawrence. The South Dakota native is a third generation Lester Lawrence Lessig.

For some candidates campaigning with their first name has more to do with avoiding the weight of their last names.

Jeb Bush, son of former President George H.W. Bush, was born John Ellis Bush. His nickname Jeb comes from his initials and is the face of his campaign.

Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton has worked hard to separate herself from her husband and former President Bill Clinton. Acknowledging the weight carried by her last name, Hillary’s campaign took off without including “Clinton.”