The List Of 2020 Candidates Keeps Growing — Here’s Everyone Who's Talked About Running
The Iowa caucuses might be months away, but senators, governors, and even mayors have been declaring their candidacies for the White House — since February 2017, if you count President Donald Trump. But not everyone has decided yet. Former Vice President Joe Biden and others have kept everyone waiting for their potential announcements, perhaps hoping to be last out of the gate. Meanwhile, here's a status update on everyone who's talked about running in 2020.
Democrats who've officially said they're running now number 19, and they range in age from 37 to 88. Six call the U.S. Senate home, and another served there in the past. Three are currently elected to the House of Representatives, and another five have once served there. There are two mayors, and multiple governors — past and present.
The Republican side of the ticket would normally be pretty short given that President Trump is currently serving his first term in the White House. But already there is one Republican officially running against him, and a few more thinking about it.
Add to that a "maybe" from at least one big-name (and big-wallet) Independent, and the race is sure to get even more interesting between now and November 2020. Here's a sampling of what everybody who's talked about running has said so far.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachussetts was the first big name to announce that she was considering a run. On Dec. 31, 2018 she announced her presidential exploratory committee.
"No matter what our differences, most of us want the same thing," Warren said in a video announcing her decision. "To be able to work hard, play by the same set of rules and take care of the people we love. That’s what I’m fighting for and that’s why today I’m launching an exploratory committee for president."
Warren formerly announced on Feb. 9 in Lawrence, Massachusetts, suggesting she has very big plans. "It won’t be enough to just undo the terrible acts of this administration," Warren told that crowd. "We can’t afford to just tinker around the edges — a tax credit here, a regulation there. Our fight is for big, structural change."
Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii first announced her campaign on Jan. 11 during an interview with CNN's Van Jones. "I have decided to run," she told Jones, "and will be making a formal announcement within the next week."
She officially kicked off the campaign on Jan. 24 with a video. "We have people in positions of power who are not thinking about the well-being of the people and our planet," Gabbard says. "Where is that conversation about the needs of our people?"
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York announced her bid while speaking with Stephen Colbert in January.
"I’m going to fight for other people’s kids as hard as I’d fight for my own, which is why I believe healthcare should be a right, 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," she said.
Sen. Kamala Harris of California first broke the news of her run on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day in an interview on Good Morning America. She then had a launch rally in Oakland, California, her hometown.
"America, we are better than this," Harris told the crowd. "People in power are trying to convince us that the villain in our American story is each other. But that is not our story. That is not who we are. That’s not our America."
A self-acknowledged underdog, Julián Castro was Obama's Housing and Urban Development secretary from 2014 to 2017. He announced his campaign on Jan. 12 in a speech in San Antonio and said his story would speak to people with similar backgrounds to himself, noting that he has "not been a frontrunner at any time in [his] life."
"My family's story is a testament to what is possible when this country gets it right," Castro told the crowd.
Former Rep. John Delaney of Maryland laid out why he was running in a Washington Post op-ed all the way back in July 2017.
"My focus is on preparing our country for the future. Technological innovation, automation and globalization are the most powerful forces in the world today," Delaney wrote on the op-ed. "These forces have been enormously positive; they will continue to make life better, enhance productivity, solve some of the world’s most difficult problems and open societies."
One of his latest pledges was to only advance bi-partisan legislation in his first 100 days.
Pete Buttigieg is just 37, an Indiana mayor, and gay — all of which could send him into the history books if he were to win the Democratic nomination. He announced his bid in a video posted on Jan. 23 and then spoke at a press conference in D.C.
"When I came out, Mike Pence was the governor of Indiana. When I joined the military, 'Don't Ask Don't Tell' was still the law of the land," Buttigieg told reporters in D.C. "When it first crossed my mind that I might run for office someday, I believed that coming out would be a career death sentence. So the world is changing, but it's not changing on its own. And if, by bringing forward good ideas, I can be part of chipping away at that, then that's one more reason to give this a look."
Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey announced his campaign on the first day of Black History Month. According to The New York Times, he wrote in an email to supporters that his vision was to "channel our common pain back into our common purpose."
In an accompanying video, Booker said, "The history of our nation is defined by collective action; by interwoven destinies of slaves and abolitionists; of those born here and those who chose America as home; of those who took up arms to defend our country, and those who linked arms to challenge and change it."
Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont announced his bid to supporters in an email on Feb. 19, The New York Times reported.
"Three years ago, during our 2016 campaign, when we brought forth our progressive agenda we were told that our ideas were 'radical' and 'extreme,'" Sanders wrote, "Well, three years have come and gone. And, as result of millions of Americans standing up and fighting back, all of these policies and more are now supported by a majority of Americans."
Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota chose a very cold, snowy day to announce her candidacy in Minneapolis on Feb. 11. But the weather didn't stop her, the Star Tribune reported.
"As president, I will look you in the eye," Klobuchar told the crowd. "I will tell you what I think. I will focus on getting things done. That’s what I’ve done my whole life."
In her speech, she said she was running for everyone. "We may come from different places," she told the crowd. "We may pray in different ways. We may look different. And love different. But all live in the same country of shared dreams."
Andrew Yang, an entrepreneur, is a nontraditional candidate, and his campaign can be summarized in one word: robots. He's running to bring attention to how automation will affect Americans, and how a universal income can help deflect the brunt of that.
"Universal basic income is an old idea," Yang told The New York Times, "but it’s an old idea that right now is uniquely relevant because of what we’re experiencing in society."
Williamson is touting an "evolution" as opposed to Sanders' "revolution," and has a set of solutions for what's bothering us as a nation on all levels (or dimensions: "things on the outside and things on the inside").
"America is not just having problems with what is happening to our economy, our environment, our educational system and so forth. We have a problem with the psychological fabric of our country, as a low level emotional civil war has begun in too many ways to rip us apart," her campaign website reads.
Former Rep. Beto O'Rourke of Texas lost his bid for Senate in November, but he has not sat out for long. He's turned his close loss into a possible presidential win by tossing his hat in the runnings for 2020.
He first announced on March 14 in a video posted to his social media channels speaking from his couch, with his wife sitting silently by his side. O'Rourke didn't hold back on how big he sees the moment:
This is a defining moment of truth for this country and for every single one of us. The challenges that we face right now, the interconnected crises in our economy, our democracy and our climate have never been greater. They will either consume us, or they will afford us the greatest opportunity to unleash the genius of the United States of America.
O'Rourke went on to have a large kick-off rally in El Paso on March 30, where he focused in part on immigrants and criticized the Trump administration's handling of migrant families and unaccompanied minors arriving at the southern border.
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee began his campaign with one key issue at the forefront: climate change. He's calling it the most urgent issue of our time.
"Whether we shrink to this challenge or rise to it is the vital question of our time," Inslee said at a campaign launch event in Seattle. "We have one chance to defeat climate change, and it is right now. It is my belief when you have one chance in life, you take it." He said that many other challenges Americans face tie in.
Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper announced his candidacy at the beginning of March with a campaign video that focused largely on his accomplishments as governor — on everything from jobs to gun control. But he took a jab at Trump, too.
"I'm running for president because we're facing a crisis that threatens everything we stand for," Hickenlooper said as Trump came on screen. "As a skinny kid with coke bottle glasses and a funny last name, I've stood up to my fair share of bullies."
Rep. Tim Ryan of Ohio announced his candidacy on The View.
"I am a progressive who knows how to talk to working class people, and I know how to get elected in working class districts because at the end of the day, the progressive agenda is what is best for working families," he said on the daytime ABC show.
His campaign website adds, "Our current government and leaders are in the way of these solutions being implemented on a broad scale. We must invest in and bring the solutions that are working to communities across the country."
You've probably never heard of Miramar, Florida, but its mayor, Wanye Messam, once played football for Florida State University. And now he's running for president.
Messam announced with a video at the end of March. In it, he focused on his background as the son of a Jamaican immigrant and what he has done for his town. Then he gets to the issues: unaffordable prescription drugs, climate change, and the student debt crisis.
"That is what's broken with this country," he said. "America belongs to all of us. The promise of America belongs to all of us. That's why I'm going to be running for president."
Rep. Eric Swalwell of California announced his run on The Late Show on Monday night. The 38-year-old Iowa native said he sees a country "in quicksand, unable to solve problems and threats from abroad, unable to make life better for people here at home."
"None of that is going to change until we get a leader who is willing to go big on these issues we take on, be bold in the solutions we offer, and do good in the way that we govern," he said. "I'm ready to solve these problems."
Former Alaska Sen. Mike Gravel, 88, may be running, but he's already decided he'll loose. He's still joining the other candidates, though, with the goal of pushing them to the left — kind of like Sanders did for Hillary Clinton in 2016.
The difference though is that his campaign has an end date. "I’m excited to run for president in order to qualify for the Democratic debates," Gravel said in a statement. "My message, centered around an anti-imperialist foreign policy and fundamental political reform, is one that no other Democratic candidate is making the centerpiece of their campaign. After the first two debates, I will drop out and endorse the most progressive candidate."
Sen. Michael Bennet of Colorado was reportedly close to announcing his bid at the end of March, and then came a curveball — one that he said ultimately won't keeping him from the race. Bennet announced that he has prostate cancer but will still pursue the nomination at the beginning of April.
"I’m looking forward to running in 2020," Bennet said on CNN’s State of the Union. "This obviously was unexpected. But we caught it early. It’s something that I think we’re going to be able to treat. And I don’t think it should keep me off the trail."
Officially, former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced he would not run for the Democratic nomination in an op-ed on his own news site at the beginning of March.
"I believe I would defeat Donald Trump in a general election," Bloomberg wrote. "But I am clear-eyed about the difficulty of winning the Democratic nomination in such a crowded field."
His advisers reportedly saw his path to victory being difficult if Biden were in the race.
Perhaps most interesting is the fact that Bloomberg's investments into a data operation that could beat Trump, will now likely go to helping whoever does win the Democratic nomination. He's also committed to working on fighting for clean energy.
Unofficially, Bloomberg may reconsider and run after all, according to an Axios report.
Montana Gov. Steve Bullock hasn't announced he's running, but he hasn't ruled it out either. He's finishing up his final two-year term as governor — that means he's looking for what's next, and he's already ruled out running for Senate.
"I’ve been both traveling and talking about Montana and listening, but I’ve also said that the Legislature, doing the work here, comes first," Bullock told the Montana Lowdown podcast last month. "For me right now, that’s as far as it goes."
Former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe has said that he would like to run, but he has not announced publicly that he will — or that he wont.
"I have made hundreds and hundreds of calls across the country, talked to potential staff and, listen, we're close to making a decision," he told CBS News in February.
He previously said he would decide by March 31, but that still hasn't happened. "Listen, we had a very successful run as governor of Virginia, bringing people together, building a new economy," McAuliffe told CNN. “I’ve said we need a Democrat running for president that has practical, actionable ― can actually get things done ― and who can show results.”
Biden has polled as the 2020 frontrunner, even though he hasn't announced yet. That potential lead has been complicated by accusations that he has touched women in ways that made them feel uncomfortable. Biden said he would try to be more respectful of personal space in the future but did not apologize.
As for running, he has said he is "very close" to making a decision and that he would want to be the last person to announce. He's already nearly acknowledged he's running while on the would-be campaign trail and has signaled to supporters that he will.
Rep. Seth Moulton from Massachusetts is thinking about it, too.
"I’m not definitely running, but I’m going to take a very hard look at it," Moulton told BuzzFeed News in February. "A very serious look at it. Because I believe it’s time for a new generation of leadership, and we gotta send Donald Trump packing."
Speaking with MSNBC in March, Moulton said he had a child recently and couldn't make a decision. Still, having a daughter makes him think more about the future, he added, so he may run.
"Personally, it's hard on the family. But I don't want my daughter growing up in this world," Moulton said.
Former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz hasn't definitively announced he's running, but he has denounced the two-party system and congressional gridlock. But what he'd do about it from the White House, he's not made entirely clear. And there's no guarantee running as a third-party candidate wouldn't end up helping Trump.
"I am seriously thinking of running for president," he said on 60 Minutes earlier this year. "I will run as a centrist Independent, outside of the two-party system we're living at a most-fragile time, not only the fact that this president is not qualified to be the president, but the fact that both parties are consistently not doing what's necessary on behalf of the American people and are engaged, every single day, in revenge politics."
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan has won in his Democratic-leaning state twice now. And he has openly talked about the possibility of running for president, choosing not to rule it out.
"People are talking to me about it," Hogan told CNN. "I'm watching with great interest all of this talk. I'm flattered people are saying that and including me in those discussions. My focus, my plan right now is to stay here for four years and do the best job I can in Maryland, but I've said, 'You never say never.' Who knows what's going to happen."
The former Republican governor of Ohio, John Kasich, has been thinking "very seriously" about running since November.
"We need different leadership, there isn't a question about it," Kasich told This Week With George Stephanopoulos. "I'm not only just worried about the tone and the name-calling and the division in our country and the partisanship, but I also worry about the policies."
In January, CNBC reported that Kasich joined CNN as a political contributor while he makes up his mind.
The only Republican officially exploring a run against President Trump is former Massachusetts Gov. William Weld. He announced his exploratory committee back in February.
"I hope to see the Republican Party assume once again the mantle of being the party of Lincoln," Weld said when he announced in February, per The Times. "It upsets me that our energies as a society are being sapped by the president’s culture of divisiveness of Washington."
He continued, "I’m here because I think our country is in grave peril, and I cannot sit quietly on the sidelines any longer."
President Trump is very much in the race, too. He first filed papers for reelection in February of 2017, and he remains the likely Republican nominee. Although, he has been largely stymied when it comes to legislation, with the exception of his tax reforms, he plans to run on what he has achieved in office so far.
"Considering that we have done more than any administration in the first two years, this should be easy. More great things now in the works!" he tweeted in January after the RNC voted to support his candidacy.
Everyone else on the list is running against Trump — or at least considering it. And until the debates begin, the list is likely to grow even longer.