The 2020 presidential campaign has begun in earnest, with a variety of candidates either entering the race or announcing exploratory committees that allow them to begin fundraising.
The Iowa Caucuses are months away (Feb. 3, 2020) but candidates are already scrambling for momentum in a crowded field. One, former Maryland Rep. John Delaney, entered really early, throwing his hat in the ring in July of 2017.
Officially in: South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg, California Rep. Eric Swalwell, Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, former Rep. Beto O’Rourke, former Gov. John Hickenlooper, Gov. Jay Inslee, Sen. Bernie Sanders, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Sen. Cory Booker, Sen. Kamala Harris, ex-San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, former Rep. John Delaney, Miramar, Fla., Mayor Wayne Messam, author Marianne Williamson, and former tech executive Andrew Yang.
Not running: Former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, former Attorney General Eric Holder, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley, West Virginia state Sen. Richard Ojeda (announced run, but dropped out).
Others: Former Massachusetts Gov. William Weld is challenging Trump in the Republican primary. Former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz is considering an independent run.
Rep. Eric Swalwell
Swalwell, the representative for California’s 15th Congressional District since 2012, made the announcement during an appearance on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” on April 8, 2019.
Rep. Tim Ryan
"I'm a progressive who knows how to talk to working class people, and I know how to get elected in working class districts, because, at the end of the day, the progressive agenda is what's best for working families," Ryan said on the show.
The mayor of Miramar, a city in South Florida, announced in a video on March 28 that he is joining the crowded field of Democratic candidates.
Messam was a wide receiver on Florida State University’s 1993 national championship team. He owns a construction business and became the first African-American mayor of Miramar, Florida’s 13th-largest city, The Sun Sentinel reported.
O’Rourke, who repped an El Paso, Texas, congressional district, ended months of intense speculation over whether he'd try to translate his new political celebrity into a White House bid, despite his loss to Cruz in deep red Texas.
Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper said he's running for president, casting himself as a can-do uniter who is used to overcoming adversity and accomplishing liberal goals in a politically divided state. "I'm running for president because we need dreamers in Washington, but we also need to get things done," Hickenlooper, 66, said in a video announcing his campaign. "I've proven again and again I can bring people together to produce the progressive change Washington has failed to deliver."
Gov. Jay Inslee
The relatively unknown Governor of Washington of Jay Inslee announced he was joining the field on March 1, 2019, pledging to make climate change the primary issue in his campaign. Inslee, 68, is the first governor to enter the Democratic contest and has a long political resume, but lacks name recognition outside of the Pacific Northwest.
Sen. Bernie Sanders
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, whose insurgent 2016 presidential campaign reshaped Democratic politics, announced on Feb. 19, 2019, that he is running for president in 2020.
"Our campaign is not only about defeating Donald Trump," the 77-year-old self-described democratic socialist said in an email to supporters. "Our campaign is about transforming our country and creating a government based on the principles of economic, social, racial and environmental justice."
He officially kicked off his campaign with a rally near his childhood home in Brooklyn on March 2, 2019.
Sen. Amy Klobuchar
The Minnesota senator positioned herself as the most prominent Midwestern candidate in the field as she announced her candidacy Sunday, Feb. 10, 2019, in a snowy park along the Mississippi River with the Minneapolis skyline in the background.Klobuchar made the announcement after several stories about her alleged mistreatment of Capitol Hill staff put a dent in her “Minnesota nice” reputation.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren
The Massachusetts senator became the first prominent candidate to dip a toe into the race, announcing in an email to supporters on Dec. 31, 2018, that she was forming an exploratory committee. She made it official on Feb. 9, 2019, that she was after the Dem nomination and the White House.
The progressive candidate’s initial move came two months after a widely-criticized decision to release a DNA test to prove her claim to Native American heritage, a topic Trump has routinely used to attack her. She formally announced her candidacy at a rally in Lawrence, Mass., after a series of stops, with some big turnout, in states like Iowa.
Sen. Cory Booker
Current New Jersey senator and former mayor of Newark, Cory Booker announced his bid for the Oval Office on Feb. 1, 2019.
Booker has long been seen as a challenger for the presidency. Something of a centrist, Booker’s announcement focused on unity and pride in America in an era marked by bitter political polarization.
Mayor Pete Buttigieg
At 37-years old, Buttigieg is only a few years older than the age requirement to be commander-in-chief, which is 35. He is a former Rhodes scholar and veteran of the war in Afghanistan and would be the first openly gay nominee from a major party. He ran unsuccessfully in 2017 for chairman of the Democratic National Committee.
Sen. Kamala Harris
The first-term senator from California, where she was the former attorney general, entered the race on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Harris, if successful, would be the first woman African American to win the nomination.
Harris bypassed the traditional route of launching an exploratory committee. During a recent TV appearance to promote her new book, “The Truths We Hold,” Harris described Washington as a “hot mess,” saying she was raised to fix problems.
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand
Gillibrand was appointed to fill Hillary Clinton’s senate seat in 2009 and was re-elected in November.
The former mayor of San Antonio and secretary of housing and urban development under President Barack Obama officially entered the race on Jan. 12.
The first Latino to enter the race made immigration the focus of his announcement, attacking Trump’s policies and his push for a border wall.
Rep. Tulsi Gabbard
The Hawaii Democrat announced on CNN’s “The Van Jones Show” on Jan. 11 that she would run for the White House, listing criminal justice reform, climate change and health care as issues she wanted to solve.
A week later, she apologized to LGBTQ people after criticism of her past comments and work against gay rights resurfaced. She had apologized previously, saying she has evolved on the issue.
The best-selling author of spiritual books entered the race on Jan. 28 with a speech in California.
A New York City entrepreneur entered the fray on early, on Nov. 6, 2017. Yang is running on a platform of universal basic income, Medicare For All, and a more humane form of capitalism. Yang is the son of Taiwanese immigrants and attended Exeter boarding school and the Ivy League.
The little-known former Maryland congressman became the first candidate to officially enter the fray. And he wasted no time doing so, announcing his intent to run in July 2017 in a Washington Post op-ed.