Rand Paul on Snapchat: The Best of GOP Presidential Hopefuls' New-Media Outreach

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Social media influence may not make or break a candidate in the 2016 presidential election, but it's certainly a must for anyone on the trail. This time around hopefuls may seem out of it until their staffs make official accounts for them on Instagram, Vine, Snapchat, Periscope and Meerkat, in addition to old-hat-by-now Twitter and Facebook.

Ahead of the first Republican primary debate tonight on Fox News, here are five highlights from candidates' cutting-edge social accounts.

Rand Paul on Snapchat

The Republican senator, who has popular accounts on Meerkat and Twitter, used Snapchat as stage for an action-packed ad on tax code.

Mike Huckabee on Vine

The Republican candidate was not a fan of 90s Disney, it seems -- at least as political philosophy. In a clip from Mr. Huckabee's Vine account, happy-go-lucky Timon and Pumbaa from "The Lion King" seem to stand in for President Obama. (Extra points for using a pop culture reference, though.)

Jeb Bush on Instagram

Mr. Bush is a social media maven, using platforms to connect with the electorate and even announcing his presidential candidacy via Snapchat story. #JebNoFilter has been trending on Twitter after the presidential candidate's YouTube account showed a short clip of Mr. Bush casually discussing campy sci-fi movie "Sharknado 3." Below is another #JebNoFilter clip, this one from Instagram.

A video posted by Jeb Bush (@jebbush) on

Ted Cruz on Vine

Ted Cruz is praised for being so social media-friendly. He doesn't underestimate technology, often interacting with Twitter followers and addressing his so-called #CruzCrew on Facebook. Is there such a thing as being too social-friendly? The Vine loop below comes off a little strange without context of where he stands on an Internet policy bill.

Donald Trump on Instagram

The Donald also has a Vine account, but he seems to be favoring Instagram more lately, posting videos including this roundup of pundits' reactions to his campaign:

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