Looking like a candidate
Dozens of potential 2020 Democratic presidential candidates have already hit the road to workshop their vision, experiment with catchphrases and test policy ideas. Many deny any presidential aspirations, but it’s too soon to count them out. 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
A traditional launching pad for the presidency, this class will have to overcome frustration with Washington.
“I believe that we can build a country where no one is forgotten, no one is left behind.”
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.”
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.”
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.”
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.”
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.”
The former law professor’s work on bankruptcy regulation led her into politics, where she became a two-term senator from Massachusetts.
“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.”
A former Denver schools superintendent, the senator from Colorado is writing a book on his vision for the country, to be released in 2019.
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.”
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.”
One of the first female combat veterans to join Congress, the 37-year-old representative from Hawaii backed Bernie Sanders in 2016.
“This moment of peril produces perhaps the greatest moment of promise for this country and for everyone inside of it.”
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.”
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.
“I see a country in quicksand, unable to solve problems and threats from abroad, unable to make life better for people here at home.”
A vocal member of the House intelligence committee, he has said he wants gun control “front and center in our national policy debate.”
“I’m not definitely running, but I’m going to take a very hard look at it. A very serious look at it.”
A representative from Massachusetts and Marine Corps veteran, he dropped his opposition to Nancy Pelosi for speaker of the House.
They bring a record of policy accomplishments and executive experience from their home states.
“I’m running for president because we need dreamers in Washington, but we also need to get things done.”
A two-term Colorado governor and former Denver mayor and pub owner, he pitches himself as nonpartisan and a business-friendly pragmatist.
“We’re the first generation to feel the sting of climate change, and we’re the last who can do something about it.”
An outgoing chairman of the Democratic Governors Association, the Washington governor has made climate change a central part of his platform.
“I am at a great advantage to be able to do the job that I get to do, and that's what I'm focusing on.”
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.
“2020 will come soon enough.”
The former Virginia governor and close friend of Hillary Clinton’s campaigned for Democrats in key presidential states in 2018.
“I am ruling it out. I ran for governor, I have a full plate, I have many projects.”
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.
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.”
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.”
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.
“The promise of America belongs to all of us.”
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 rule things out because you never know what life brings.”
Bill de Blasio
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.”
“I plan on being married to my wife. That is all I am planning.”
After falling short in his 2018 bid to become Florida governor, the mayor of Tallahassee has made clear that he is looking for a way to stay in the national conversation.
“I never say never. But at this point in time, I don't think I'm going to do it.”
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.
“We have to fall in love again with what this country can mean.”
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.”
An entrepreneur who is advocating for a universal basic income for U.S. adults, he declared his run in February.
“I am seriously thinking of running for president ... I will run as a centrist independent outside the two-party system.”
The former Starbucks executive chairman who released a book in 2019 about his upbringing and his vision for the country said he was considering an independent bid for president on CBS’s “60 Minutes.”
Several former public officials have remained a force in the party.
“I appreciate the energy you all showed when I got up here. Save it a little longer, I may need it in a few weeks.”
The 76-year-old former vice president is the early favorite in polling, and his decision looms large over 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.”
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”
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.”
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.
“Our new slogan for 2020, you know what it is? Keep America Great.”
“The country deserves to have some fiscal constraint and conservatism.”
Former Mass. governor, 2016 libertarian VP nominee
“I’m considering it.”
Former Ohio governor
“We’ve got to remember what the Republican Party is.”
Former Tennessee senator
“No man, not even the president of the United States, is above the law.”
“Noxious weed control board of Dodge County, Nebraska, is the far more probable scenario for me.”
“For all of you who are going to ask about 2020, no, I am not running for 2020.”
Former UN ambassador and South Carolina governor
“No, I'm not running again.”