Governor Christie declared his presidential intentions on Tuesday in what appears to be crowded GOP field. But "crowded" is a relative word according to the FEC's official list of candidates.
Christie joined 12 other high-profile Republican primary candidates after holding a press conference and he will soon file with the Federal Elections Commission as a candidate of record receiving campaign contributions.
But according to the FEC's records, 96 other Republicans already filed election paperwork before Christie, including candidates who declared back in 2014. Kerry Dale Bowers, a retired Air Force officer from Nevada, filed paperwork in April 2014 as the first GOP candidate.
Link: FEC's candidates list
In all, 434 people had filed what is known as FEC Form 2, a Statement of Candidacy, with the FEC, as of June 29, 2015. Or they had notified the FEC of their intentions in a letter that contains the information required on Form 2.
To be eligible to run, candidates need to meet the basic Constitutional requirements.
Article II, Section 1, says that a person must be 35 years of age, a resident within the United States for 14 years, and a natural-born Citizen.
The 22nd Amendment also restricts some former Presidents from running re-election. "No person shall be elected to the office of the President more than twice, and no person who has held the office of President, or acted as President, for more than two years of a term to which some other person was elected President shall be elected to the office of President more than once," it reads.
The FEC says under the amended Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971, a person becomes an official candidate for federal office when:
1. The individual has received contributions aggregating in excess of $5,000 or made expenditures aggregating in excess of $5,000; or
2. The individual has given consent to another person to receive contributions or make expenditures on behalf of him or herself and that person has received contributions aggregating in excess of $5,000 or made expenditures aggregating in excess of $5,000
The first candidate to declare for the 2016 race was Josue Larose, a controversial figure from Florida who was once profiled on "The Daily Show." Larose filed his paperwork in late 2008 for the 2016 election. In 2012, the Sun-Sentinel reported that Larose was facing more than 2,000 counts in Florida related to election laws.
And compared with the FEC's records from 2012, the 2016 campaign should see more candidates of all kinds jump into the presidential race.
In all, 417 candidates filed with the FEC for the 2012 election, but only 167 candidates, or 40 percent of the eventual total, had filed by June 29, 2011. At that rate, the 2016 presidential election would have more than 1,000 official candidates.
In the end, the election process reduces that list considerably, as states consider which candidates appear on ballots as party members or independent candidates, and parties conduct primaries.
According to the official 2012 presidential election results, 28 candidates received votes in the general election won by Barack Obama.