Rep. John Delaney
Delaney, a 55-year-old businessman and former Maryland Congressional representative, has been running for president almost as long as President Donald Trump has been in office: He announced his campaign in July 2017, according to Bostion radio station WBUR.
Hillary Clinton’s surprising loss “made me say, ‘We have to think differently about everything,’ ” Delaney, a Democrat who left office earlier this year, told WBUR. “We really need to move to a bit of a post-partisan world where we actually start solving problems.”
In his WBUR interview, Delaney outlined more moderate positions than many of his Democratic colleagues. For example, he said he supports “a system of universal health care where every American has health care as a fundamental right” but does not believed in a government-backed “Medicare-for-all.” He also said he believes in a compromise on border security that includes some physical barriers between the U.S. and Mexico.
Yang, the 44-year-old founder of Venture for America (described by the New York Times as “a Teach for America for Entrepreneurs”), has been running for president for more than a year. He’s built his campaign on a pledge to provide a universal basic income of $1,000 each month for every American adult.
According to the Times, Yang is pushing such a policy as a response to what he believes could be an economic catastrophe wrought by increasin automation, leaving many Americans without jobs.
“I’m a capitalist,” he told the paper last year, “and I believe that universal basic income is necessary for capitalism to continue.”
“I know the country my sons will grow up in is going to be very different than the one I grew up in,” Yang says on his campaign website, “and I want to look back at my life knowing I did everything in my power to create the kind of future our children deserve.”
According to PBS, Yang recently crossed the donor threshhold to be included in upcoming debates among the Democratic primary candidates where he is likely to make the biggest splash among those without formal political experience.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren
At the end of December, the Massachusetts Democrat, 69, began her presidential bid.
The former Harvard bankruptcy law professor — who has drawn headlines for a DNA test she took to prove she has Native American heritage — is known for advocating for more regulations on Wall Street and big corporations. Before joining the Senate she was an adviser to President Obama.
“If you work hard and play by the rules, you ought to be able to take care of yourself and the people you love,” Warren said in her video announcement.
“We can make our democracy work for all of us,” she continued. “We can make our economy work for all of us.”
The former secretary of housing and urban development, 44, announced he was running in January in San Antonio, Texas, where he was mayor before joining President Barack Obama‘s administration. If elected, he would become the country’s first Latino president.
Castro, who was raised by his grandmother, a Mexican immigrant, is a longtime supporter of LGBTQ rights and early childhood education and in 2010, he fought for federal funding to jumpstart green jobs.
“I am not a frontrunner in this race, but I have not been a frontrunner at any time in my life,” Castro told CNN before his official announcement. “My family’s story is a testament to what is possible when this country gets it right.”
Rep. Tulsi Gabbard
The 37-year-old Iraq War veteran, who represents parts of Hawaii in the House of Representatives, announced in January she was running. Gabbard is both the first American Samoan and Hindu member of Congress. An economic progressive and critic of America’s armed interventions abroad, she has faced scrutiny for being socially conservative, according to Vox, though she has reversed some of her positions and is pro-choice and now supports same-sex marriage.
“There are a lot of challenges that are facing the American people that I’m concerned about and that I want to help solve,” Gabbard said on The Van Jones Show when she made her announcement. She added that health care, criminal justice reform and climate change would be key issues in her campaign.
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand
The New York Democrat, 52, announced in January she was throwing her hat in the ring while appaering on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. The two-term senator has a reputation as a fierce dissenter of President Trump, calling on him to resign over sexual assault allegations (which the president has denied).
Gillibrand has also been vocal about gun reform and advocates for the rights of women, the LGBTQ community and people of color.
“As a young mom, I’m going to fight for other people’s kids as hard as I would fight for my own,” she told Colbert of her decision to run. “You are never going to accomplish any of these things if you don’t take on the systems of power that make all of it impossible.”
Sen. Kamala Harris
The 54-year-old California Democrat announced her candidacy on Martin Luther King Jr. Day while also paying tribute to Shirley Chisholm, the first black Congresswoman and first black woman to seek the nomination for president for one of America’s two major parties.
Harris, a former prosecutor from the Oakland area, told Good Morning America: “My entire career has been focused on keeping people safe.”
While her law enforcement background has drawn scrutiny from some progressives, she has supported criminal justice reform, pushed for reforming bail for suspects and prioritized lowering maternal death rates, according to the New York Times. Her “signature proposal … would provide lower-income families with monthly cash payments of up to $500,” the paper reports.
Mayor Pete Buttigieg
The 37-year-old Democratic mayor of South Bend, Indiana, announced his camapign in late January. He enters as one of the first openly LGTBQ candidates to ever run for the presidency under a major party.
His announcement came in a tweet along with an introductory video where Buttigieg touched on his generational identity as a millennial and a campaign based on “walking away from the politics of the past.”
Though a presumptive longshot, given his low national profile, Buttigieg’s Midwestern roots have possible cache after President Trump narrowly won the 2016 election thanks to victories in Michigan, Pennsylvania nad Wisconsin.
Buttigieg is a veteran of the war in Afghanistan, serving in the Navy throughout his deployment. He was born and raised in South Bend, CNN reports. He continued on to Harvard University and later became a consultant at McKinsey.
Williamson, a 66-year-old self-help author, announced she was running for president in late January — “to engage voters in a more meaningful conversation about America, about our history, about how each of us fit into it and how to create a sustainable future,” she said.
That conventional rhetoric belies how unconventional Williamson is as a “major” candidate, which she now is according to the political analysis website FiveThirtyEight.
Williamson, who is seeking the Democratic nomination, has no traditional political, business or military experience. Any path forward will be steep against challengers such as former Vice President Joe Biden.
Williamson’s policy platform broadly aligns with the Democratic mainstream, including proposals to combat man-made climate change, reform gun laws and provide universal health care
Sen. Cory Booker
The senator from New Jersey announced his campaign for the Democratic nomination for president on Feb. 1, releasing a video on his website.
Outlining his intentions, the 49-year-old said, “I grew up knowing that the only way we can make change is when people come together.”
Booker — a graduate of Stanford University and Yale Law School — was elected as mayor of Newark, New Jersey, in 2006, serving until he was elected to the Senate and assumed office in 2013.
Sen. Amy Klobuchar
The Minnesota Democrat had a fatefully dramatic announcement in mid-February as snow fell all around.
A three-term senator, Klobuchar, 58, is widely popular in her state. Pundits view her candidacy as viable thanks to her Midwestern background, as Democrats lost the presidency in 2016 by razor-thin margins in a few Midwestern states
But Klobuchar has also recently stirred a larger national profile — in part thanks to her questioning last year of then-Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh at his confirmation hearing amid his sexual misconduct allegations, which he denied.
Klobuchar has said she is in support of universal health care, combatting climate change and expanding voter registration access.
“For too long, leaders in Washington have sat on the sidelines while others try to figure out what to do about our changing economy and its impact on our lives, what to do about the disruptive nature of new technologies, income inequality, the political and geographic divides, the changing climate, the tumult in our world,” she said at her announcement, continuing:
“Let’s stop seeing those obstacles as obstacles on our path. Let’s see those obstacles as our path.”
Sen. Bernie Sanders
In mid-February, Sanders, 77, announced he would again seek the Democratic nomination for president having lost in 2016 to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Sanders, a longtime indepedent senator from Vermont who often votes with Democrats, re-enters a world of presidential politics vastly different than his last campaign, in large part thanks to him.
Since launching a underdog effort four years ago which quickly found national support, many of Sanders’ policies — such as universal health care and free public college — have become central liberal proposals.
“We began the political revolution in the 2016 campaign and now it’s time to move the revolution forward and make sure that vision, those ideas, are implemented into policy,” Sanders said in announcing he would run again.
Gov. Jay Inslee
The Washington governor, 68, announced his candidacy on March 1 with a clear message: He is not afraid to talk about climate change.
In his announcement video, while focusing on his decades-long commitment to environmental policy, Inslee argued he will be the “only candidate” who “will make defeating climate change our nation’s No. 1 priority.” His broader policy platform is also progressive.
Inslee’s political career is decades long, according to CNN: He was first elected to the Washington House of Representatives in 1989. He was subsequently elected to Congress twice and became governor in 2013. The AP reported that under Inslee’s governorship, Washington became the first state to sue Trump in 2017 over his temporary ban on immigration from several majority-Muslim countries.
The 46-year-old former Democratic representative from Texas broke into the national consciousness last year with a much discussed run against Sen. Ted Cruz.
Though O’Rourke lost, the El Paso politician did so by a narrow margin, given Texas’ Republican history.
“The challenges we face are the greatest in living memory. No one person can meet them on their own. Only this country can do that, and only if we build a movement that includes all of us,” O’Rourke wrote along with his March 14 announcement video.
So far, he’s made immgiration and a firm stance against the president’s call for a tighter border central to his message.
Mayor Wayne Messam
The mayor of a mid-sized South Florida city (and former college football star), the 44-year-old Messam’s platform covers many key Democratic priorities, including gun reform and efforts to fight climate change, lower student debt and curb healthcare spending. But he argues that his outsider’s status as a local politician is a boon, not a hindrance.
“Washington is not working for the American people, and these big issues need fresh eyes and bold ideas from someone closer to the people,” Messam, the son of Jamaican immigrants, says on his campaign website.
He announced he was running for president in March.
He underlined his position on student debt in his announcement video, saying, “Every day people are graduating from universities with crippling debt stifling their opportunity for financial mobility; that is what’s broken with this country.”
Rep. Tim Ryan
A 45-year-old longtime representative from Ohio, Ryan said on April 4 he was seeking the Democratic nomination for the presidency.
“I believe in the free enterprise system,” Ryan said, according to NBC News. “I think we’re not going to solve these national problems without them, but I also believe that we need to reform government and get the government working because I think government can be instrumental.
In a statement Ryan, described by NBC as a centrist, trumpeted an idealistic future. (He has made headlines for criticizing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the msot powerful Democrat in the country.)
“I’m running for president because we have a real shot at uniting again — to restore the dignity of work and the feasibility of the American Dream,” he said his statement.
Still, he faces major obstacles against already nationally-known politicians such as Sens. Booker, Harris, Sanders and Warren.
Rep. Seth Moulton
The 40-year-old Marine Corps veteran and Massachusetts lawmaker announced on Good Morning America on April 22 that he was running for president.
He said he would be distinguished, in part, by his own military service.
“I am running because I am a patriot, because I believe in this country and because I have never wanted to sit on the sidelines when it comes to serving it,” Moulton said on GMA.
“I’m going to talk about patriotism, about security, about service,” he said. “These are issues that for too long Democrats have ceded to Republicans, and we’ve got to stop that. Because this is actually where Donald Trump is weakest.”
According to his website, Moulton is supportive of paid family leave and the Green New Deal to combat climate change and wants to expand government-backed health care as an option for all consumers.
Vice President Joe Biden
The longtime senator from Delaware-turned-presidential candidate-turned-running mate and vice president announced his campaign on April 25 with a video message.
“We are in the battle for the soul of this nation. 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,” Biden said.
Biden, 76, served as former President Barack Obama‘s right-hand man for two terms and enters a crowded field of Democratic candidates as the immediate frontrunner in name recognition and most polling, even if his age and historically more moderate voting record put him at odds with the party’s progressive wing.
Though he skipped the 2016 race after the death of son Beau, Biden hasn’t hidden his weighing of a 2020 bid. But his candidacy is not without controversy after he acknowledged that some of his physical behavior, including touching women on the back or kissing their forehead without asking, left them uncomfortable.
In a subsequent video, he said, “I worked my whole life to empower women. So the idea that I can’t adjust to the fact that personal space is important, more important than it’s ever been, is just not thinkable. I will.”
Sen. Michael Bennet
A 54-year-old Democratic senator from Colorado, Bennet announced on May 2 that he was running for president while appearing on CBS This Morning.
“I have a tendency to tell the truth to the people I represent in Colorado and I want a chance to do that with the American people,” he said.
According to CNN, Bennet’s announcement was delayed by his prostate cancer diagnosis in April and subsequent treatment, including a successful operation.
“It was very clarifying,” he said on CBS of his diagnosis. Then he pivoted back to health care, which Democrats see as a key vulnerability given President Trump’s persistent attempts to dismantle the Affordable Care Act.
According to the New York Times, Bennet, a moderate, is “known for his work on education and immigration reform.”
Gov. Steve Bullock
The 53-year-old governor of Montana announced he was running for president on May 14, saying in a video:
“I believe in an America where every child has a fair shot to do better than their parents. But we all know that kind of opportunity no longer exists for most people; for far too many, it never has. We need to defeat Donald Trump in 2020 and defeat the corrupt system that lets campaign money drown out the people’s voice, so we can finally make good on the promise of a fair shot for everyone.”
According to NPR, “Bullock is focusing his campaign message on campaign finance.”
Bullock was twice elected to the top office in Montana — a high-profile Democrat in a deeply Republican state (though Montana, because of its large size and small population, has unusual political dynamics compared to the rest of the country).
Before serving as governor, Bullock was Montana’s attorney general.
Mayor Bill de Blasio
The 58-year-old two-term mayor of New York City, the nation’s largest city and its de facto economic and cultural capital, announced on May 16 he was entering the presidential race after nearly two dozen other Democratic challengers.
“Working Americans deserve better, and I know we can do it because I’ve done it here in the largest, toughest city in this country,” de Blasio said on Good Morning America alongside wife Chirlane.
De Blasio, who won both N.Y.C. elections with ease, touted his mayoral focus on “guaranteed health care for all New Yorkers,” as well as paid sick leave and pre-K for all families.
Still, de Blasio is in a crowded field and despite his victory margins has faced controversies as mayor, including over the city’s subway systems. But he is trumpeting a narrow message to voters.
“There is plenty of money in this world and plenty of money in this country, it’s just in the wrong hands,” he said on GMA. “We have to do things for working people.”
A retired three-star Navy admiral and former two-term Pennsylvania representative, Sestak, 67, announced his candidacy in a video on his website on June 22. He joined more than 20 others already running to win the Democratic Party’s nomination.
He said his delay in launching his bid was because he wanted to spend time with his daughter, who was diagnosed with brain cancer but has since recovered, The New York Times reported.
Focusing on foreign policy in his announcement, Sestak also said he supports joining with other nations to fight climate change.
“America’s retreat from the world today is so dangerous and damaging to our American Dream,” he said, “First, there is nothing we can do just by ourselves — absolutely nothing — to protect America from the most destructive threat to mankind: climate change.”
Steyer, a billionaire investor, Democratic donor and activist, announced on July 9 that he would run for president and reportedly plans to spend $100 million — or more — on his race.
“Almost every single major intractable problem, at the back of it, you see a big money interest for whom stoping progress, stoping justice, is really important to their bottom line,” he said in his announcement video. He focused on issues of economic inequality and widespread corporate dysfunction in public life.
Before entering the race, Steyer had most recently generated headlines as a loud voice for President Trump’s impeachment
President Donald Trump
In a highly unsual move, Trump actually began running for re-election before he was sworn-in for his first term. According to the Washington Post, he was spending money on 2020 efforts as early as Nov. 24, 2016.
The president’s surprising win in 2016 has made the pundit class conflicted about predictions for re-election, though the common arguments against Trump include his historically low approval rating, even though presidents are much more often re-elected than not.
As the New York Times detailed in January, Trump may yet face another unusual development: a challenger from within his own party for the Republican nomination. Candidates include former Ohio Gov. John Kasich, a longtime Trump critic, and Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan.
In February, former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld, who has campaigned as a Libertarian, confirmed he would challenge Trump as a Republican.
In January, Trump boasted to his liberal opponents: “The Democrats know they can’t win based on all of [my] achievements.”
Gov. Bill Weld
Weld, 73, governed Massachusetts from 1991 to 1997 and while he has campaigned as a libertarian — running for the vice presidency there in 2016 — he switched back to the Republican Party to challenge Trump.
“We cannot sit passively as our precious democracy slips quietly into darkness,” he said in announcing his long-shot bid in February.
“Congress must do its duty and, as citizens, we must do ours,” he said. The Boston Globe described him as an “advocate of free trade, increased immigration, and action to combat climate change,” and he is more socially liberal than many of his Republican colleagues.
An intra-party challenge to a sitting president is not completely unheard of but it is unusual — and unlikely to be successful. Still, Weld said in February the he hopes “to see the Republican Party assume once again the mantle of being the party of Lincoln.”