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Checking In On 26 Of The Many, Many People Who May Challenge Trump In 2020

June 11, 2019 6:03 a.m.

The field of potential candidates to challenge President Donald Trump in 2020 is comically large. Nearly every Democrat with name recognition or a record of victories in a red state or some popularity has at least tossed around an anodyne “never say never.”

Here, in no particular order, are the candidates that have shown at least a mild inclination to toss their hats into the ring, and where they are in the campaign process.


Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) — is running

Warren officially announced her run on February 9. She put out a video detailing her plans and forming an exploratory committee on New Years Eve. She has been positioning herself as a policy wonk and announced a plan to tax the wealthiest Americans.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) — is running

Sanders announced his run on February 19. He had already started up his campaign machinery and had a summit with some of his biggest supporters in Vermont in early December. He has faced some recent friction though, as female staffers from his 2016 campaign came forward with allegations of sexism and sexual harassment by colleagues. He has apologized.

Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) — is running

Harris announced her run on January 21. Since then, she’s been holding notably well-attended rallies and ginning up support with lawmakers and donors. Though Harris was still playing coy when she teased an announcement on ABC’s The View, her actions have belied her intent. The release of her book, “The Truths We Hold: An American Journey,” was conveniently timed to introduce herself to voters. Meanwhile, she has been speaking with donors, spending to expand her online following and preparing two campaign headquarter hubs.

Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) — is running

Booker announced his run on February 1. He has been shifting his machinery into place and staffing up. He, more than any other candidate, has spent time and emotional energy in the early primary states to forge relationships and gain favor. He is finalizing his Iowa team.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) — is running

Klobuchar announced her official run in snowy Minnesota on February 10. She had inched in that direction January 15 when she said that her “family is on board.” She made the case to the New Yorker recently that the Democrats need voices from the midwest and to combat Trump’s nihilistic pessimism with positivity. The “Minnesota nice” senator just won reelection in her midwestern state by 24 points. She also recently paid visits to Iowa.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) — is running

Gillibrand announced her run officially, after initially launching an exploratory committee, on March 17. She has been reportedly reaching out to donors. She also traveled a to Iowa recently and hired a high-profile DCCC spokeswoman as her communications director.

Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO) — is running

Bennet announced his run officially on CBS on May 2. He said in March that he had been diagnosed with prostate cancer, but that if his early April surgery went well, he’d go ahead with his run.



Former Rep. John Delaney (D-MD) — is running

Delaney announced his presidential run in July 2017 and has been touring the early primary states.

Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-TX) — is running

O’Rourke announced his run officially on March 14 and will hold a kickoff campaign event in El Paso on March 30. In late November, O’Rourke told a town hall in El Paso that he was considering a run and that he still had to talk it over with his family. Since then, he has met with former President Barack Obama and taken a solo road trip to meet voters.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) — is running

Gabbard announced Friday on CNN that she has “decided to run.” Her fledgling campaign has run into some serious issues including the departure of her campaign manager and dredging up of less politically palatable past positions. Gabbard had said on MSNBC’s “Hardball” in mid-December that she was “seriously considering” a bid.

Rep. Seth Moulton (D-MA) — is running

Moulton officially announced his run on April 22 on ABC’s “Good Morning America.” Moulton’s name recognition rose this year due to his failed attempt to lead a coup against House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA).

Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH) — is running

Ryan announced April 4 via a video on his website. He had started shoring up staffers, including Pete D’Alessandro, a top staffer for Sanders in the 2016 Iowa caucus. Ryan sees the “wellness vote” — he himself is a practitioner of healthy lifestyle techniques — as crucial to a win.

Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) — is running

Swalwell announced on April 8 during an appearance on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert,” primary on a platform of gun control. He told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer in early December that he would be open to running on a ticket with former Vice President Joe Biden, either as president or vice president. He’s traveled to South Carolina to keynote an event for a local Democratic party.



Former San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro — is running

Castro, also a former HUD director in the Obama administration, launched his exploratory committee in mid-December and announced his run officially on January 12. He has been traveling in Iowa.

South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg — is running

Buttigieg announced his official bid on April 14. He had announced the creation of his exploratory committee on January 23. Before that, he decided not seek a third term as mayor in mid-December. While he was still feeling out a bid, he traveled to Iowa with potential fellow candidates Sen. Merkley and Rep. Swalwell to speak at a Progress Iowa event.

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio — is running

De Blasio announced his candidacy on May 16 as a candidate for the “working people.” He was quickly mocked by just about everyone on Twitter.

Former New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu — is considering it

Landrieu described his ideal Democratic candidate last summer on CNN as “somebody that knows exactly what they’re doing, because they’ve done that before, that can stabilize and just rebalance the country for four years,” acknowledging that Biden fits that bill. He said then that “if he had to pick today” he would pick Biden. Landrieu has met personally with former President Barack Obama and said he’d “never rule out running for anything,” but may be waiting on Biden to make any decisive moves.


Obama Cabinet

Former Vice President Joe Biden — is running

Biden announced his bid on April 25 with a campaign video. He pushed off his announcement multiple times, even as recently as days before he did actually announce. He has reportedly considers himself Democrats’ best bet to keep Trump to one term. Even as a hypothetical candidate, Biden has been consistently polling ahead of the field, up with Sanders.



Montana Gov. Steve Bullock — is running

Bullock announced his official bid on May 14. He was term-limited out of the governorship, but said in October that he hadn’t “set a timeline” for himself to make a decision.

Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper — is running

Hickenlooper announced his run on March 4 via video. He had been teasing the announcement for a while, saying in late January that he would “take the bet” that he would run. In a similarly folksy and vague tease, he said in early December that he is “past 50-50” in his likelihood to run, putting the probability at “63, 64 percent.” He was also term-limited and has been staffing up, reportedly sitting in on 30 interviews since September.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee — is running

Inslee announced his run March 1 on a platform of climate change activism and Trump critiques. He had started a PAC in December and pulled donors together. He has been staffing up and reprimanded Howard Schultz for considering an independent bid.


The Miscellaneous And Rich

Entrepreneur Andrew Yang — is running

Yang, the founder of Venture for America, filed with the FEC on November 6, 2017. He is running on a form of Universal Basic Income and sounding the alarm about the effects automation will have on the American worker.

Spiritual Adviser Marianne Williamson 

Williamson announced on January 28, 2019. She’s running a platform based on “love” and supports raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour, addressing climate change and driving down student debt.

Former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz — is considering it

Schultz said on “60 Minutes” that he’s considering a bid as an Independent. Democrats worry that if he runs, he’ll be a spoiler and take votes from the Democratic candidate. Trump seems to be goading Schultz into a run.

Businessman Richard Vague — is considering it

The under-the-radar Vague has spent the past year working with focus groups to figure out what voters really want, per Buzzfeed News. He’s emerged with a “kitchen table” slate of issues he feels confident will land a Democrat back in the White House. If none of the current candidates focus on them, he says, he will “never say never” to running himself.

Billionaire Mark Cuban — is considering it

Cuban said in early December that though it would be “bad parenting” to run, he still may. It is not at all clear that he would run as a Democrat, and has previously said that he would run as an Independent.

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