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Nearly two dozen 2020 Democratic presidential candidates have hit the road to workshop their vision, experiment with catchphrases and test policy ideas. On the other side, some Republicans have signaled a willingness to challenge President Trump in the Republican primary.

When do candidates usually announce?

In previous presidential election cycles, most major-party candidates announced their campaigns in the first half of the year before the election. If the 2020 cycle mirrors 2016, we can expect a flurry of announcements in the spring. The chart below does not include the intermediate step of creating an exploratory committee.

Source: Smart Politics

Several people have declared candidacy or taken the intermediate step of forming an exploratory committee. Others are looking like a candidate based on their recent messaging and events. Others are leaving their options open. Three candidates announced a run but later dropped out.


A traditional launching pad for the presidency, this class will have to overcome frustration with Washington.

“If we keep going down this road, we’re going to be the first generation of Americans to leave less opportunity, not more, to the next generation.”

Michael Bennet

He’s running

A former Denver schools superintendent and current senator from Colorado, the champion of political moderation announced a run following a prostate cancer diagnosis and surgery.

“I believe that we can build a country where no one is forgotten, no one is left behind.”

Cory Booker

He’s running

A former mayor of Newark, the senator from New Jersey speaks of love, human connection and economic renewal on the trail.

“I’m going to fight for other people’s kids as hard as I would fight for my own.”

Kirsten Gillibrand

She’s running

A senator from New York who led the fight against sexual assault in the military and sexual harassment in government.

“The future of our country depends on you and millions of others lifting our voices to fight for our American values.”

Kamala Harris

She’s running

A former prosecutor and longtime criminal justice reformer, the Californian won a Senate seat the same night Trump won the White House.

“Our nation must be governed not from chaos but from opportunity.”

Amy Klobuchar

She’s running

After winning reelection in 2018 by 24 percentage points, the senator from Minnesota says she believes that many in the Midwest were not heard in the 2016 election.

“Our campaign is about transforming our country and creating a government based on the principles of economic, social, racial and environmental justice.”

Bernie Sanders

He’s running

A self-described Democratic socialist, the senator from Vermont won 43 percent of the popular vote in the 2016 Democratic primaries.

“If we organize together, if we fight together, if we persist together we can win. We can and we will.”

Elizabeth Warren

She’s running

The former law professor’s work on bankruptcy regulation led her into politics, where she became a two-term senator from Massachusetts.

House members

Each brings a perspective to the race forged in their own distinct parts of the country.

“It is time for us to rise above our broken politics and renew the spirit that enabled us to achieve the seemingly impossible.”

John Delaney

He’s running

A former Maryland representative, he announced a presidential run in July 2017 and has stressed bipartisanship during several trips to Iowa.

“I ask you to join me, join me in putting this spirit ... of service above self at the forefront.”

Tulsi Gabbard

She’s running

One of the first female combat veterans to join Congress, the 37-year-old representative from Hawaii backed Bernie Sanders in 2016.

“I’m running because I’m a patriot, because I believe in this country, and because I’ve never wanted to sit on the sidelines when it comes to serving us.”

Seth Moulton

He’s running

A representative from Massachusetts and Marine Corps veteran, he dropped his opposition to Nancy Pelosi for speaker of the House.

“This moment of peril produces perhaps the greatest moment of promise for this country and for everyone inside of it.”

Beto O'Rourke

He’s running

A former House member from El Paso, he emerged as a Democratic star in 2018, raising huge sums of money during his unsuccessful Senate bid.

“We've got to find some common ground, so we can get to some higher ground.”

Tim Ryan

He’s running

A U.S. representative from Ohio, he ran against Nancy Pelosi for Democratic leader in 2016. He has stressed the need for Democrats to win back working-class voters.

“Americans know that we have more in common than we do differences.”

Joe Sestak

He’s running

A former House member and unsuccessful Senate candidate from Pennsylvania, the Navy veteran is running on “restoring U.S. global leadership.”

“Today ends our presidential campaign, but it is the beginning of an opportunity in Congress with a new perspective ...”

Eric Swalwell

Dropped out

A vocal member of the House intelligence committee, he has said he wants gun control “front and center in our national policy debate.”


They bring a record of policy accomplishments and executive experience from their home states.

“I believe in an America where every child has a fair shot to do better than their parents.”

Steve Bullock

He’s running

The moderate Democrat won reelection as governor in 2016 even as Trump won big in Montana. He has visited key presidential states and tacked left on gun control, signaling a play for more-liberal voters.

“We’re the first generation to feel the sting of climate change, and we’re the last who can do something about it.”

Jay Inslee

He’s running

An outgoing chairman of the Democratic Governors Association, the Washington governor has made climate change a central part of his platform.

“I am ruling it out. I ran for governor, I have a full plate, I have many projects.”

Andrew Cuomo

Said no, speculation continues

The New York governor survived a primary challenge from the left in 2018. He has said he is ‘ruling it out’ when asked about a presidential run.

“I’m running for president because we need dreamers in Washington, but we also need to get things done.”

John Hickenlooper

Dropped out

A two-term Colorado governor and former Denver mayor and pub owner, he pitches himself as nonpartisan and a business-friendly pragmatist.


Only two mayors have ever made it to the Oval Office, but both served in other government roles before becoming president.

“It's not just about winning an election — it's about winning an era.”

Pete Buttigieg

He’s running

A veteran of the U.S. Navy Reserve who served in the Afghanistan conflict, the 37-year-old mayor of South Bend, Ind., is also the only openly gay candidate in the field.

“I’m running for president because it’s time for new leadership. Because it’s time for new energy.”

Julián Castro

He’s running

A former mayor of San Antonio and secretary of Housing and Urban Development, he spent the early Trump years travelling the country to support a new generation of Democratic leaders.

“There’s plenty of money in this world. There’s plenty of money in this country. It’s just in the wrong hands.”

Bill de Blasio

He’s running

The current mayor of New York City, he travelled to Iowa in 2017, where he declared, “We are at the beginning of a progressive era.”

“The promise of America belongs to all of us.”

Wayne Messam

He’s running

A son of Jamaican immigrants and former Florida State University football player, he is the mayor of Miramar, Fla., a city of about 140,000.

“I never say never. But at this point in time, I don't think I'm going to do it.”

Mitch Landrieu

Keeping options open

The former mayor of New Orleans, he published a book in 2018 about healing the United States' long history of racial strife.


In the wake of Donald Trump’s election, the paths to the presidency have broadened like never before.

“As an outsider, I’ve led grassroots efforts that have taken on big corporations and won results for people.”

Tom Steyer

He’s running

A billionaire former hedge fund manager who financed a campaign to impeach President Trump. He announced in January that he would not run, but has now jumped into the contest.

“We have to fall in love again with what this country can mean.”

Marianne Williamson

She’s running

A spiritual author and entrepreneur who ran an unsuccessful independent campaign for the House in 2014, she announced a bid in late January.

“No one else is going to build a better world for us. We’re going to have to do it ourselves. Together.”

Andrew Yang

He’s running

An entrepreneur who is advocating for a universal basic income for U.S. adults, he declared his run in February.

Other officials

Several former public officials have remained a force in the party.

“[W]e are in the battle for the soul of this nation.”

Joe Biden

He’s running

The 76-year-old former vice president is one of the most well-known names in the field. He has said it is “totally legitimate” if voters think he is too old to take on Trump.

“20 years ago, I never thought I’d be ready to run for POTUS before 2028. But life comes at you fast.”

Stacey Abrams

Keeping options open

A former state House minority leader in Georgia, she lost a closely contested race for governor in 2018. Democratic leaders have met with her about a U.S. Senate run in 2020.

“I’m really not thinking about it”

John Kerry

Keeping options open

A former secretary of state and senator, he was the unsuccessful Democratic presidential nominee in 2004. He would not rule out a run when asked in September.

“Unfortunately, we've made the decision that we're going to end this presidential campaign.”

Richard Ojeda

Dropped out

A brash former West Virginia state senator and retired Army paratrooper, he announced a presidential bid after an unsuccessful run for the U.S. House.


Some concerned Republicans have hinted they might challenge Trump in the primary. At least one person is looking at an independent bid.

“Our new slogan for 2020, you know what it is? Keep America Great.”

Donald Trump

He’s running


“The country deserves to have some fiscal constraint and conservatism.”

William Weld

He’s running

Former Mass. governor, 2016 libertarian VP nominee

“I still wouldn’t rule anything like that out. I have to use my skills, my public influence, where it serves the country best.”

Justin Amash

Keeping options open

Libertarian-leaning Mighigan congressman and former Republican

“We’ve got to remember what the Republican Party is.”

Bob Corker

Keeping options open

Former Tennessee senator

“The place where there is no discussion is ... interest is the largest growing expense in the federal government.”

Mark Sanford

Keeping options open

Former South Carolina governor and U.S. representative

“Noxious weed control board of Dodge County, Nebraska, is the far more probable scenario for me.”

Ben Sasse

Keeping options open

Nebraska senator

“I am seriously thinking of running for president ... I will run as a centrist independent outside the two-party system.”

Howard Schultz

Keeping options open

Former Starbucks chairman, considering an independent bid

“For all of you who are going to ask about 2020, no, I am not running for 2020.”

Nikki Haley

Said no, speculation continues

Former UN ambassador and South Carolina governor

“No, I'm not running again.”

Mitt Romney

Said no, speculation continues

Utah senator

Laris Karklis and Reuben Fischer-Baum contributed to this report.


Originally published May 14, 2018.

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