The 10 candidates you might not know, but definitely should: Larry Pressler & Gina Raimondo

The Washington Post Blog

You've heard plenty from us (and others) this election cycle about the breakout stars and biggest names of 2014. Today, we thought we'd do something different and introduce you to a handful of candidates whom you may not be familiar with but who are worthy of your attention.

Then-Rep. Travis Childers (D-Miss.) in July 2010. (Thomas Wells/Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal via Associated Press)

Then-Rep. Travis Childers (D-Miss.) in July 2010.  He is running for U.S. Senate this year. (Thomas Wells/Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal via AP)

In some cases, the candidates have very interesting or unique backgrounds. In others, they have a better chance of winning than many people think but just haven't gotten much buzz -- either because of the party tilts of their states or the lower profile of their races.

Below is our list of 10 under-the-radar contenders you should know about, in alphabetical order. Disagree? Have suggestions for others? The comments section awaits your input!

To the Line! 


Larry Pressler (U.S. Senate, South Dakota): Pressler served three terms in the Senate as a Republican from South Dakota in the 1980s and '90s. Like Bob Smith, who is also on our list, he later flirted with serving in office in another locale – weighing a bid for mayor of Washington, D.C. – but now he’s back in his home state and waging an independent campaign for Senate. Few think he’s got much of a chance in the race against former governor Mike Rounds (R), but this one’s worth keeping an eye on. Pressler had a moment in the spotlight recently when the movie “American Hustle” was in theaters. Pressler rejected a bribe during the sting operation detailed in the film.


The Rhode Island gubernatorial field: Among the contenders: Democrat Clay Pell, the husband of Olympic skater Michelle Kwan and the grandson of a senator; Moderate Party founder Ken Block, running now as a Republican; and the state's first Asian American mayor, Republican Allan Fung. The two frontrunners in the race are Providence Mayor Angel Taveras (D), the city's first Hispanic mayor; and state Treasurer Gina Raimondo (D), a Rhodes Scholar who helped start the state's first venture capital firm.

Read full blog post here.