WHO IS RUNNING FOR PRESIDENT IN 2020?
Though the New Hampshire presidential primary is still a year away, the list of candidates running for the 2020 presidential election continues to grow. Our analysts are watching who's been visiting New Hampshire — ground zero for a first-in-the-nation primary showdown — as well as hiring political consultants and forming PACs in preparation for a possible run. Here's a summary of declared and likely presidential candidates hoping for a shot at challenging President Donald Trump.
Names in blue link to a full profile with the candidate's experience, position on key issues, fundraising data and more.
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. To be included in this list a candidate must also have 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
On his campaign website, Buttigieg describes himself as "a millennial Mayor, Afghanistan war veteran, and husband." He's also making history as an openly gay candidate for president.
“I launched a presidential exploratory committee because it is a season for boldness and it is time to focus on the future. Are you ready to walk away from the politics of the past?”
- Candidate's Facebook page
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.”
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.”
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
Colorado was the first state to legalize marijuana. The state also passed a controversial bill for univeral background checks after tragic mass shootings. Hickenlooper oversaw the implementation of both laws.
“I think it’s probably the worst period of division we’ve had in this country since the Civil War. Ultimately I’m running for president because I believe that not only can I beat Donald Trump, but that I am the person that can bring people together on the other side and actually get stuff done. The division is keeping us from addressing big issues like climate change and the soaring costs of health care.”
- New York Times
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. Before serving as Washington's governor he served in the U.S. House of Representatives. He announced his campaign on March 1.
“I'm Jay Inslee and I'm running for president because I am the only candidate who will make defeating climate change our nation's number one priority.”
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
Rep. Beto O'Rourke (D-Texas)
O'Rourke ran a surprisingly close campaign against Sen. Ted Cruz in 2018. He's gained attention for his "devil may care" style, including occassional profanity. He announced his presidential campaign in March 2019.
“The challenges we face are the greatest in living memory. No one person can meet these challenges on their own. Only this country can do that, and only if we build a grassroots movement that includes all of us. It will be animated by an ambition for the country that recognizes that the obstacles we face will only be overcome by lifting each other up; that the opportunities before us will only be realized by overcoming the differences between us before they define us forever.”
Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio)
Ryan gained a national spotlight after he challenged Nancy Pelosi for Speaker of the House. He also has a unique connection to New Hampshire - he got his law degree in the Granite State.
“It’s time for us to start building the America we deserve. An America that invests in public education, affordable health care and an economy that works for all of us. An America united by a shared vision for our future.”
- Candidate Website
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.”
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 started his campaign with a bold statement on firearms:
“It’s time we take BIG, BOLD action to #EndGunViolence in America. That’s why I’m the only candidate proposing that we ban and buy back every single assault weapon in this nation.”
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.”
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.”
Williamson is often described as the "spiritual guru" and friend of Oprah Winfrey. In 2014 she ran for the U.S. House of Representatives as an indepedent, and came in fourth out of fourteen candidates.
“There is an underground of people in America who are seeking higher wisdom. We are rich and poor, progressive and conservative, young and old. And what we share at this moment is deep concern — concern about the direction in which our country is headed, the assaults on our democratic foundations, and the erosion of our human values. My campaign for the presidency is dedicated to this search for higher wisdom.”
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.”
Donald Trump (R)
While he may face a primary challenge from Weld, President Trump has a significant advantage over any challenger, Democrat or Republican: a preexisting campaign infrastructure and a war chest larger than any other candidate.
“We will make America strong again. We will make America proud again. We will make America safe again. And we will Make America Great Again!”
- Campaign website
Possible candidates: current officials
These members of Congress have publicly expressed interest, have visited the Granite State, or have taken other steps towards a presidential run.
Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colorado)
There was a surge in interest in Bennet after he gave a fiery speech on the Senate floor, accusing Sen. Ted Cruz of crying "crocodile tears" for first responders hurt by the government shutdown. Bennet's speech was particularly surprising because he is generally a moderate senator. Now he's visiting Iowa and New Hampshire and talking about a possible presidential campaign.
“I think that I've got a different set of experiences than the other folks in the race, many of whom are my friends and people that I like. But, I spent time in business and time as a school superintendent before I was in the in the job that I'm in now.”
- The Hill
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
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D)
De Blasio has scheduled visits to Iowa and New Hampshire and met with top party officials. Would de Blasio fare better than former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani? In March he said he would decide on a presidential campaign "sooner than later."
“People want to talk about the issues: families, jobs, healthcare; those are the issues of the Democratic Party. I don’t care if some place has historically voted republican, it’s on us to go there and bring our case to the people.”
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.”
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 (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.”
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.”
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