WHO WILL RUN FOR PRESIDENT IN 2020?
Though the New Hampshire presidential primary is more than a year away, the list of potential 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 possible Democratic 2020 presidential candidates hoping for a shot at challenging President Donald Trump:
Senators and Representatives
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.
"During the holidays I'm gonna sit down and take a lot of stock about what I want to do next – whether I want to run for president or stay in the Senate and help this continued movement in our country to reinvigorate our democracy.”
- ABC News
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.”
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
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. 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. When asked if she would run in 2020, she said:
"Well, I’m obviously very dedicated to serving New Yorkers, but that is a very important moral question that I’ve been thinking about. I’ve been thinking about it because what President Trump has been putting into this country is so disturbing, so divisive, so dark that I believe I’ve been called to fight as hard as I can to restore that moral integrity, that moral decency. So I’m thinking about it.”
- The View
Sen. Kamala Harris (D-California)
California is considering moving up its presidential primary, which would give first-term Senator Harris an early bump in the race. She's also met with big Democratic donors and campaigned for colleagues in battleground states. When asked about a presidential run in December 2018, Harris said:
“Over the holiday, I will make that decision with my family.”
- NBC News
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 has fueled presidential speculation by visiting Iowa and talking about winning over rural voters.
“Well, people are talking to me about this, I think, in part because I’ve worked really hard to go not just where it’s comfortable but where it’s uncomfortable, and did well in a number of those places that Donald Trump won. But right now, I am just still thinking about this, talking to people.”
- Washington Post
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.”
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
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts)
President Trump has already suggested he may face off against Warren in 2020. Although the first-term Senator fiercely battled Trump on Twitter during the 2016 election, in 2017 and 2018 Warren focused on working progressive issues in the U.S. Senate, not running for president. That tone changed in a fiery speech in November:
“The world changed in 2016, it changed again in 2018, and I believe it will change again in 2020.”
- ABC News
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.”
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
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 has said he will make a decision about a presidential campaign by the end of 2018.
“Whoever becomes the Democratic nominee has to stand for the future. They have to stand for everything that Trump is not.”
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.”
Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper (D)
In Decemeber 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.”
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 progresive leader - particularly on climate change policy. In the Fall of 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
Former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick (D)
In December 2018 Patrick said he would not run for president in 2020, despite encouragement from some Democrats.
“I’ve been overwhelmed by advice and encouragement from people from all over the country, known and unknown. Humbled, in fact. But knowing that the cruelty of our elections process would ultimately splash back on people whom Diane and I love, but who hadn’t signed up for the journey, was more than I could ask.”
- New York Times
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.”
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.”
Former Secretary of State John Kerry
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 ru 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.”
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
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 is not ruling out another run. In November 2018 he said:
“You know, we are looking at it. But it is a very – it is a very – it is a decision that impacts your family. And I want to make sure that when I make that decision, if I decide to run, that I have concluded, in fact, that I am the strongest candidate who can defeat Donald Trump.”
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.”
Tom Steyer (D)
Steyer is a former hedge-fund manager and major donor for Democratic candidates. He has called on all Democrats to support the impeachment of Donald Trump, and recently took out a full-page ad in USA Today to outline his ideal Democratic platform. When asked if he was considering a run, Steyer said:
“I will do whatever I think is the most impactful thing that I can do to push what I believe in terms of values and vision.”
- The Atlantic
Michael Avenatti (D)
The attorney for adult film star Stormy Daniels openly explored a run for president, and published a policy platform in August 2018. However, in December 2018 he said he would not run for president.
“I do not make this decision lightly – I make it out of respect for my family. But for their concerns, I would run.”
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