Every major 2020 presidential candidate so far
The race to the White House is on. At one point, there were 26 major Democratic elected officials or public figures in the ring to compete for the nation’s top office. The list has now begun to decrease with many major candidates ending their campaigns. In the last two days, both Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar have announced their exit from the race, on March 1 and 2, respectively.
The clear Democratic front-runners right now are Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and former Vice President Joe Biden, but a shortlist of viable contenders remain: Tulsi Gabbard and Elizabeth Warren. There is now only one challenger to President Donald Trump left: Bill Weld.
Stacker researched the major candidates, organized here in alphabetical order by last name. While some have varied political histories and military experience, others like former candidate Marianne Williamson have no political experience at all (she’s made her name as a self-help guru). Trump is running on a campaign promise to “Keep America Great” while other presidential candidates have positioned their campaigns around issues such as health care, minimum wage, gun control, LGBTQ+ rights, college tuition, and the Green New Deal.
Read on to find out more about the candidates vying for U.S. president in the 2020 General Election to be held Nov. 3. Please note this story will be continually updated as candidates join or drop out of the race.
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Michael Bennet (D) — withdrew Feb. 11, 2020
Michael Bennet, a U.S. senator from Colorado, announced his 2020 presidential campaign on "CBS This Morning," May 2, 2019. Bennet has said the two biggest challenges facing the U.S. include "the lack of economic mobility and opportunity for most Americans" and "the need to restore integrity to our government.” He once worked under another candidate running in the 2020 Democratic presidential primary: Bennet was the chief of staff to then-mayor of Denver, John Hickenlooper.
While Bennet, who is married with three children, planned to announce his presidential bid earlier in the year, he was diagnosed and treated for prostate cancer, requiring him to put the announcement on hold. “I don’t want to be hysterical, but if it was left in me undetected, it could kill me,” Bennet told journalist Mike Littwin. “It won’t because I have insurance and decent medical care. The idea that the richest country in the world hasn’t figured out how to have universal health care is beyond embarrassing. It’s devastating.”
UPDATE: Bennet ended his campaign Feb. 11, 2020, after the New Hampshire primary.
Joe Biden (D)
The 47th vice president of the United States, Joe Biden, announced his bid for president in a video on Thursday, April 25, 2019. His message focused on President Trump’s highly criticized response to the deadly 2017 Charlottesville white nationalist riots, saying that America is in a ”battle for the soul of this nation.”
On his campaign website, Biden shares his vision for the U.S.: to rebuild the middle class, to include everyone in this country’s democracy, and to demonstrate leadership on a global level. "I believe history will look back on four years of this president and all he embraces as an aberrant moment in time. But if we give Donald Trump eight years in the White House, he will forever and fundamentally alter the character of this nation, who we are, and I cannot stand by and watch that happen."
Cory Booker (D) — withdrew Jan. 13, 2020
New Jersey Democratic Sen. Cory Booker has made a name for himself since serving as the 36th mayor of Newark between 2006 and 2013. The Stanford and Yale University graduate (and Oxford Rhodes Scholar) fought back against slumlords rather than partner with a law firm upon graduation.
As the first African American U.S. senator from New Jersey, Booker is also famed for shoveling a constituent out of a snow-filled driveway, rescuing a woman from a house fire, and saving dogs from the freezing weather. Unmarried with no children, Booker—whose key issues include affordable housing and criminal justice reform—remains untouched by scandal since announcing his bid for the presidency in February 2019.
UPDATE: Booker announced his withdrawal from the race with a tweet on Jan. 13, 2020. Real Clear Politics reported Bookers' polling numbers at 1.8% among Democratic voters.
Steve Bullock (D) — withdrew Dec. 2, 2019
Montana Gov. Steve Bullock officially announced his bid for 2020 president in a video called, "Fair Shot," in which he states: "As a Democratic governor of a state that Trump won by 20 points, I don’t have the luxury of just talking to people who agree with me." He calls the coming election "the fight of our time," and "the fight of [his] career," referring to the defeat of President Donald Trump.
With a red-state perspective in his back pocket, Bullock aims to help Americans create better lives than those of the generations that came before them. Married with three children, the Montana governor was born in Missoula, and raised by a single mom in Helena. He attended Claremont McKenna College in California for his undergrad and received his law degree from New York's Columbia Law School.
UPDATE: Bullock dropped out of the race on Dec. 2, noting he was unable to attract primary voters. “While there were many obstacles we could not have anticipated when entering this race, it has become clear that in this moment, I won’t be able to break through to the top tier of this still-crowded field,” says Bullock.
He says he will not be placing a 2020 Senate bid.
Pete Buttigieg (D) — withdrew March 1, 2020
Mayor of South Bend, Ind., Pete Buttigieg (pronounced "Boot-edge-edge") is already making noise since his January announcement of his Democratic bid. His recent remarks against Vice President Mike Pence regarding same-sex marriage have gained the Harvard University graduate recent press.
Buttigieg, who is openly gay and recently married, supports the Equality Act: a bill that if passed would amend the Civil Rights Act to disbar discrimination based on sex. Buttigieg is also recognized for leaving his mayoral post for seven months in 2014 to serve a lieutenant in the U.S. Navy Reserve in the Afghanistan war. Buttigieg supports several critical issues including climate change and universal health care.
UPDATE: On March 1, 2020, Buttigieg dropped out of the contest after losing the South Carolina primary.
Julian Castro (D) — withdrew Jan. 2, 2020
Former San Antonio mayor and Democrat Julian Castro has been throwing anti-Trump, anti-border wall rallies in the city since announcing his presidential bid in January 2019. Key political issues for the native Texan include free trade, universal health care, and renewable energy.
Castro, who was the United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development from 2014 to 2017, shares political influence with his twin brother, Joaquin Castro, who is a U.S. House representative. Castro is married with two children.
UPDATE: Castro's campaign's fundraising efforts failed to succeed and he wasn't making waves in the polls. “With only a month until the Iowa caucuses and given the circumstances of this campaign season, I’ve determined that it simply isn’t our time,” said Castro on Jan. 2, 2020.
Bill de Blasio (D) — withdrew Sept. 20, 2019
Current two-term New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio entered the group of 2020 presidential primary hopefuls May 16 in a video announcement, in which he calls President Donald Trump a "bully" and a "con artist." Pointing to his success with policy changes, such as a $15 minimum wage and universal pre-K, de Blasio says, "I know we can do it," he said, "because I've done it here in the largest, toughest city in this country." A Quinnipiac University poll published April 3 found 76% of New Yorkers do not think de Blasio should run.
UPDATE: Mayor de Blasio dropped his bid for the Democratic nomination. "I feel like I have contributed all I can to this primary election, and it’s clearly not my time, so I’m going to end my presidential campaign," said de Blasio in a Sept. 20 interview on MSNBC's "Morning Joe."
John Delaney (D) — withdrew Jan. 31, 2020
Former Maryland U.S. Rep. John Delaney has been eyeing the 2020 presidency for some time. He was the first Democrat to announce his bid in 2017, refusing to run for Congress again in 2018 so he could campaign for the U.S. commander in chief post. Branding himself as a “different kind of Democrat,” the Columbia University and Georgetown University Law Center graduate supports fighting climate change, universal health care, and economic opportunity.
Speaking of economics, when Delaney's first company was listed on the stock exchange, he was the youngest CEO of a publicly traded company. Delaney is married with four children and worth $93 million, according to the 2018 Roll Call Wealth of Congress.
UPDATE: Delaney withdrew Jan. 31, 2020, just a few days prior to the Iowa caucuses. His presidential campaign was one of the longest in the country's history at 2.5 years, according to The New York Times.
Tulsi Gabbard (D)
Democratic U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard serves Hawaii's second congressional district and was the youngest woman to be elected in the U.S. state legislature in 2002 when she was just 21. Since announcing her presidential bid in January, Gabbard—an avid surfer and athlete—has proposed decriminalizing marijuana while also campaigning on the Medicare for All platform.
She suggests on her website that “when we stand united in a spirit of aloha, motivated by our respect and compassion for each other and love for our country, we can overcome any challenge before us.” She is married with no children.
Kirsten Gillibrand (D) — withdrew Aug. 28, 2019
Democratic U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand attended Dartmouth College and the UCLA School of Law and has served in New York since 2009. Since serving as U.S. House representative from 2007 to 2009, Gillibrand, who announced her presidential bid in March 2019, has moved up the political ladder and remains the ranking Democrat member on two Senate subcommittees.
She supports campaign finance reform, affordable childcare, and some form of universal health care. Though not involved in any personal scandal herself, Gillibrand did suggest President Bill Clinton should have resigned after the Monica Lewinsky affair was made public. She is married with two children.
UPDATE: Gillibrand ended her bid for the presidency on Aug. 28.2018 All rights reserved.