WHO IS RUNNING FOR PRESIDENT IN 2020?

Though the New Hampshire presidential primary is still a year away, the list of 2020 presidential candidates continues to grow. Our analysts are watching who's visiting the Granite State, hiring political consultants, and forming PACs. Here's a summary of declared and likely presidential candidates hoping for a shot at challenging President Donald Trump:

Declared

These candidates have formed exploratory committees that let them fundraise for a presidential run, or they have formally declared they are definitely running for president.  They have also raised at least $500,000 or been featured in at least three national polls.

Sen. Cory Booker (D-New Jersey)

Booker, a first-term Senator, is widely regarded as a rising star in the Democratic Party. His home state of New Jersey recently passed a law that will allow him to simultaneously run for president and re-election to the Senate.

"We need leadership in this country that understands what patriotism means. And patriotism is love of country, and you can't love your country unless you love your fellow countrymen. That doesn't mean we're always going to agree, or even that we're always going to like each other, but we've got to extend each other grace, less judgment, and more hard work to come together to do the things that other people on the planet Earth don't think we can do.”
- Real Clear Politics

Former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro (D)

Castro gained national attention after his 2012 speech at the Democratic National Convention. He was also on Hillary Clinton’s shortlist for vice president. He formed an exploratory committee in 2018, and in January announced his campaign.

“I’m running for president because it’s time for new leadership, it's time for new energy, it's time for new commitment to make sure the opportunities that I had are available to every American.”
- WMUR

Rep. John Delaney (D-Maryland)

Delaney became the first elected official to declare he is running for president, in 2017. The third-term Congressman and wealthy businessman is hoping an early declaration will help him with name recognition. In a Washington Post editorial he wrote:

“The American people are far greater than the sum of our political parties. It is time for us to rise above our broken politics and renew the spirit that enabled us to achieve the seemingly impossible. This is why I am running for the Democratic nomination for president of the United States.”
- Washington Post

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii)

Gabbard gained attention in 2016 after she resigned from the Democratic National Committee over a debate schedule she said favored Hillary Clinton. She was also an early endorser of Bernie Sanders. In January 2019 she said was planning to run and would make a formal announcement in the coming weeks.

"There is one main issue that is central to the rest, and that is the issue of war and peace. I look forward to being able to get into this and to talk about it in depth when we make our announcement.”
- CNN

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-New York)

Gillibrand occupies Hillary Clinton's former Senate seat, and she campaigned for Hillary in 2016. However, she also gained a lot of attention for saying Bill Clinton should have resigned during the Monica Lewinsky investigation, so not everyone in the Democratic Party is a Gillibrand fan. She announced a presidential exploratory committee in mid-January.

"I’m going to run for president of the United States because as a young mom, I’m going to fight for other people’s kids as hard as I would fight for my own, which is why I believe that health care should be a right and not a privilege. It’s why I believe we should have better public schools for our kids, because it shouldn’t matter what block you grew up on. And I believe that anybody who wants to work hard enough should be able to get whatever job training they need to earn their way into the middle class.”
- The Hill

Sen. Kamala Harris (D-California)

Harris announced her presidential campaign on Martin Luther King Day. She is only the second black woman to serve in the U.S. Senate. She is also the former attorney general of California, a state which is holding an earlier primary this year.

“When I look at this moment in time, I know that the American people need someone who is going to fight for them, who is going to see them, who will hear them, who is going to care about them, who will be concerned about their experience, who is going to put them in front of self-interest.”
- Roll Call

Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minnesota)

In 2016 the Democrats lost most of the Midwest to Trump – is a Senator from Minnesota the answer to winning it back? Klobuchar announced her presidential campaign in February.

“And I promise you this: As your President, I will look you in the eye. I will tell you what I think. I will focus on getting things done. That’s what I’ve done my whole life. And no matter what, I’ll lead from the heart.”
- Pioneer Press

Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-Vermont)

Even though Sanders lost the presidential primary in 2016, he has stayed in the spotlight fighting against Trump’s policies and proposing universal health insurance.  Sanders enters the 2020 race with the benefit of significant name recognition and a national fundraising network.  

“Our campaign is about transforming our country and creating a government based on the principles of economic, social, racial, and environmental justice.  Our campaign is about taking on the special interests that dominate our economic and political life.”
- YouTube

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts)

At the very end of 2018, Warren announced she was forming a presidential exploratory committee.  She has sparred with Trump on more than one occassion, and brands herself as a watchdog for Wall Street. However, she has faced criticism for claiming Native American heritage.  In her announcement video she said:

“Our government is supposed to work for all of us, but instead, it has become a tool for the wealthy and well-connected. If we organize together, if we fight together, if we persist together, we can win.”
- YouTube

Bill Weld (R)

Weld is the former governor of Massachusetts and the 2016 vice presidential nominee for the Libertarian Party.  He announced an exploratory committee to challenge Trump in February 2019. 

“As we move toward the 2020 election year, each of us must also strive to remember and uphold the difference between the open heart, open mind and open handedness of patriotism versus the hard heart, closed mind and clenched fist of nativism and nationalism.”
- Boston.com

Andrew Yang (D)

Yang is an entrepreneur who made his name with the nonprofit Venture for America.  He is gaining attention for his proposal to give all adults $1,000 in "universal basic income."  One lucky family in Goffstown, New Hampshire will receive this income during his campaign. 

“I'm running because I'm confident that we are going to automate away millions of jobs in the next number of years and we need big changes to get through this time.”
- Facebook

Possible candidates: senators and representatives

These members of Congress have publicly expressed interest, have visited the Granite State, or have taken other steps towards a presidential run.

Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio)

Brown recently won a third term in the U.S. Senate, even as Republicans swept other offices in Ohio. Supporters point to his ability to appeal to blue collar workers that supported Trump in 2016. Now that he's won re-election, Brown says he's considering higher office, but he's taking his time to make a decision.

“To me, there’s so many people running. I want to see how this plays out. For me, and for others.”
- Politico

Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Arizona)

Sen. Jeff Flake is a frequent critic of President Trump, and announced in October 2017 that he will not seek re-election. Trips to New Hampshire fueled speculation that he is gearing up for a Republican challenge to Trump.

"On record, I have many times said I hope a Republican runs in the primary against the president. I think Republicans need to be reminded what it means to be conservative, and what it means to be decent. ... I prefer it’s somebody else. I’m not ruling it out."
- CNN Newsroom

Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Oregon)

First elected in 2008, Merkley is known as one of the most liberal members of the U.S. Senate. He was also the only U.S. Senator to endorse Bernie Sanders for president. At the end of November, Merkley answered a question about a run for president in 2020:

“I'm continuing to hold a lot of conversations to explore it. I want to ask and answer the question, what can I do that's most effective in taking on three big issues affecting America. And one of those is the corruption of our Constitution, with dark money and voter suppression, a second is foundations for families to thrive, and a third is taking on carbon pollution that's endangering our planet.”
- KGW News

Rep. Beto O'Rourke (D-Texas)

O'Rourke ran a surprisingly close campaign against Sen. Ted Cruz in 2018. Since then he was invited to meet with former President Barack Obama. In November 2018 he said he would decide about a presidential run after his current House term ends, January 3:

“The best advice I received from people who’ve run for, and won – and run for, and lost – elections like this, is: Don’t make any decisions about anything until you’ve had some time to hang with your family and just be human. And so I am following that advice.”
- Texas Tribune

Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio)

Ryan gained a national spotlight after he challenged Nancy Pelosi for Speaker of the House. Although he lost that contest, he’s used the attention to book speaking gigs around the country – including New Hampshire.

“Shaping the national debate is on my radar, and using the bullhorn that I have and that got bigger after I ran against leader Pelosi. The country needs a voice from a place like Youngstown, and our party needs to figure out how to get working-class voters back.”
- WMUR

Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-California)

After Cher suggested a campaign with Biden as president and Swalwell as vice president, the young representative from California said he liked the idea.  He has also made numerous visits to Iowa. When asked about his plans this December, Swalwell answered:

“Iowa’s first in the nation. I’ll be in New Hampshire this Friday and those states play an important role and I want to continue to listen and learn from those folks and make a decision just after the holidays.”
- The Hill

 

Possible candidates: Governors, mayors, and other elected officials

Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg (D)

Bloomberg recently switched his party affiliation from Independent to Democrat, and has been meeting with top Democratic officials in Iowa. Both signs point to a possible run.

“I do think that after 12 years in City Hall, dealing with international problems and security problems and economic problems and creating jobs and the environment and guns and women's rights and tobacco and these things, that I have a lot of experience which would be useful if I was president of the United States.”
- Politico

Montana Gov. Steve Bullock (D)

Bullock has made multiple trips to Iowa and New Hampshire since winning election in 2016 - a notable feat as a Democratic in a state that chose Donald Trump as its presidential nominee. He is also chairman of the National Governors Association. In August 2018 he said:

“Right now, really, what I’m doing is, I have been listening. I have been traveling the country quite a bit, listening probably more than I have been talking. I have shared what we have done in Montana. But, for now, that’s as far as it goes.”
- Washington Post

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti (D)

Like many potential candidates, Garcetti said he will make a decision on a presidential run by the end of 2018. No mayor has ever won a presidential race, but Garcetti doesn’t think that is a problem.

“I think it’s important to show people who happen to be Democrats, but people who, run things like, for me, the biggest port in America, the biggest airport, the utility that’s the largest in the country – people want folks that are very practical-minded.”
- WMUR

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper (D)

In December Hickenlooper said there was over a 50% chance he would run. He argues Colorado is no longer a "flyover" state and believes it is a model state for the rest of the nation.

“We’re seeing all kinds of evidence that the Trump presidency isn’t succeeding. It’s not taking America where it needs to go. It certainly isn’t fulfilling his promises to the rural parts of America.”
- CNN

Former Attorney General Eric Holder (D)

With visits to Iowa and New Hampshire, Holder looks like another presidential candidate. He says he will make a decision in early 2019. Asked about a possible run during a trip to New Hampshire, Holder said: 

“Two guys from Queens. That would be interesting. New Yorkers know how to talk to other New Yorkers.”
- Fox News

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D)

Inslee may be a long shot, but in a crowded field he might make a name for himself as a progressive leader - particularly on climate change policy. In autumn 2018 he said:

“I’m not ruling out anything in 2020 at the moment. I do think that it is absolutely imperative that the Democratic Party put forth a candidate who will make climate change a principal, front-burner issue, rather than some peripheral back burner.”
- Rolling Stone

Former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D)

McAuliffe campaigned for Democratic candidates across the U.S. in 2018, including candidates in Iowa. He also has close ties to the Clintons. A super PAC launched in October to encourage McAuliffe to run. Asked about his 2020 plans in September, McAuliffe answered:

“I don’t rule anything out ... Then you have to make some decisions through the end of the year and into the first quarter of next year.”
- Associated Press

 

Possible candidates: former presidential ambitions

Former Vice President Joe Biden (D)

Biden declined to run in 2016, due in part to the death of his son in 2015. He’s made no secret that he thinks he could have beat Clinton and Trump, and is openly considering a run in 2020.

“I think I’m the most qualified person in the country to be president. The issues that we face as a country today are the issues that I’ve worked on my whole life – the plight of the middle class and foreign policy.”
- CNBC

 

Gov. John Kasich (R-Ohio)

Kasich came in second in the 2016 New Hampshire presidential primary, and there were rumors he would challenge Trump at the Republican National Convention. Many believe that the Republican moderate will mount an independent challenge to Trump in 2020, and he's a vocal critic of Trump.

“The question for me is, what do I do about this? Do I run because I’ve determined that I can win? Or is it important for me to make such a good showing that I can send a message that can disrupt the political system in this country? So yeah, I have to think about it.”
- Newsweek

 

Former Secretary of State John Kerry (D)

Kerry was the Democratic nominee for president in 2004, and lost to George W. Bush. He later served as secretary of state under President Obama. Asked about a presidential run in November, Kerry answered:

“I’m not taking anything off the table. I haven’t been running around to the most obvious states, laying any groundwork or doing anything. Am I going to think about it? Yeah, I’m going to think about it.”
- Politico

 

Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley (D)

O’Malley is another failed 2016 candidate considering a rerun. O’Malley has visited the Granite State several times since the last presidential election.

“When I’m asked whether I’ll run again, I say ‘I just might. I very well might.’”
- Concord Monitor

 

 

Possible candidates: CEOs and celebrities

Howard Schultz (D)

Schultz resigned as CEO of Starbucks after Trump's win, sparking a flurry of speculation he was preparing to run for president. He is preparing to release a book in February, and his public relations team includes many political advisors. He also may oppose more progressive Democratic candidates. In June he said:

“It concerns me that so many voices within the Democratic Party are going so far to the left. I say to myself, ‘How are we going to pay for these things,’ in terms of things like single payer [and] people espousing the fact that the government is going to give everyone a job. I don’t think that’s realistic.”
- CNBC

Mark Cuban (I)

The businessman and “Shark Tank” TV personality says he is actively considering a run for President. He has criticized Donald Trump for everything from his management style to his decision not to disclose his tax returns.

“The benefit of being an independent is you go right to the golden-ticket time – if I get enough support in the polls, then I get to participate in the debates.”
- Business Insider

 

Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson (I)

After rumors about Johnson's interest in running for president, a group of citizens formed a PAC named "Run the Rock 2020."  While the PAC has no relationship with the actor, Johnson says a campaign isn't out of the question - but probably not in 2020.

“There’s a lot of ground to cover, and due to my schedule, it’s not possible in 2020. I have so much respect for the position. It’s something that I seriously considered. What I need is time to go out and learn.”
- Vanity Fair

 

Oprah Winfrey (D)

The media mogul fueled speculation when she re-tweeted an article titled, “Democrats’ best hope for 2020: Oprah.” However, Oprah denies she is seriously considering a run. In August 2018 she said:

“In that political structure – all the non-truths, the bull****, the crap, the nastiness, the backhanded backroom stuff that goes on – I feel like I could not exist,.  I would not be able to do it. It's not a clean business. It would kill me.”
- British Vogue

Join Citizens Count

Join our constantly growing community. Membership is free and supports our efforts to help NH citizens become informed and engaged. 

JOIN TODAY ▸

©2018 Live Free or Die Alliance | The Live Free or Die Alliance is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization.