This is Who Republican Presidential Contenders Follow on Twitter
By Steven Yaccino Jeremy Scott Diamond Mira Rojanasakul | March 19, 2015
Presidential candidates like to talk about leadership, but whom do they follow? Bloomberg Politics scoured the Twitter accounts of Republicans eyeing the White House for clues about their political influences, personal interests, and social media savvy.

Best frenemies: who follows whom

Tap names to see their connections

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Follows

2016 Republicans really, really like Jim DeMint

Jim DeMint / The Heritage Foundation @JimDeMint / @Heritage

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Nearly every 2016 Republican follows either the Tea Party godfather or his Heritage Foundation.

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Speaker Boehner is speaking, but not everyone is listening

John Boehner @JohnBoehner / @SpeakerBoehner

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He has more sway than just about any elected leader in his party, but five Republicans considering a White House bid have tuned him out.

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Mitch McConnell @McConnellPress

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The Senate majority leader gets even less love.

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Less than half of likely Republican candidates follow Mitt Romney

Mitt Romney @MittRomney

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Nine prospective candidates don’t get tweets from the GOP’s most recent nominee.

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Hannity tops O'Reilly

Sean Hannity @seanhannity

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Fox News employs four of the top five talk show personalities that 2016 Republicans follow, but Hannity leads by a comfortable margin.

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Greta Van Susteren @greta

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A respectable second.

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Bill O'Reilly @oreillyfactor

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He is in a three-way, third-place tie with conservative radio host Laura Ingraham and Fox News anchor Bret Baier. (Jeb Bush follows no Fox talking heads.)

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Steve King vs. Grover Norquist

Steve King @SteveKing

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Would-be candidates flocked to his Iowa Freedom Summit earlier this year. But only six follow him.

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Grover Norquist @grovernorquist

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The anti-tax crusader is even less popular.

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Drudge Report crushes the New York Times

Drudge Report @DRUDGE_REPORT

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The Republican field pays more attention to Matt Drudge’s tweets than those from America's newspaper of record.

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New York Times @nytimes

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Chris Christie said he canceled his subscription to the Gray Lady, but he's one of three 2016 Republicans getting its tweets.

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The pope has 5.72 million followers. Here are two.

Pope Francis @Pontifex

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Only Rand Paul and Chris Christie follow him.

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GOP <3’s Bibi

Benjamin Netanyahu @IsraeliPM / @netanyahu

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His two accounts are followed by about half the presidential field. But Jeb Bush, Scott Walker, and Marco Rubio — who don’t follow him — tweeted in defense of his recent speech to Congress.

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Rand Paul follows President Obama

Barack Obama @BarackObama

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Millions of people receive tweets from the president, but only one is a Republican who’s after his job.

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Arnold vs. Shaq

Arnold Schwarzenegger @Schwarzenegger

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He is the most popular celebrity among this group. Do they follow him because he’s a former GOP governor or do they just love the Terminator?

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Shaquille O'Neal @Shaq

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"Random acts of Shaqness" have made the basketball superstar the second-most popular celebrity.

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Rick Perry used to follow Beyoncé

Beyonce @Beyonce

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Maybe Perry was channeling Mike Huckabee when he unfollowed the pop star earlier this year.

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Why are likely presidential candidates following these Twitter accounts?

And then there's this: No sane politician would knowingly follow these racy accounts, but when you're building a big audience, it can be hard to keep tabs on every account that winds up in your feed.

Married Affairs @marriedaffairs

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Asked how Marco Rubio came to follow the account of an extramarital dating service, a spokeswoman said in an e-mailed statement that “he followed a lot of random people who followed him early when he joined Twitter and he doesn't monitor his newsfeed. To the extent he uses Twitter, it’s to share tweets with his followers and read tweets directed at him.”

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Free Porn @porn_sex

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“Obviously these are accounts that we would never intentionally follow,” said a Rick Perry spokeswoman by e-mail.

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Hot ‘N Sexy Men @hotnsexymen

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Ted Cruz unfollowed this account when asked about it. “Twitter allows users to switch handles and change profiles,” a spokesman said in an e-mailed statement. “Reporters who want to play ‘gotcha’ can then call and demand explanations for meaningless stunts.”

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