Nine Democrats Have Joined the 2020 Presidential Race, and More May Follow

PC: Office of Attorney General Kamala Harris

Hannah Astin
Staff Writer

So far, nine Democrats have entered the 2020 Presidential race with a few more poised to throw their hat in the ring. While the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primaries, the first two elections of the 2020 primary season, are still over a year away, candidates are aggressively beginning their bids for the presidency.

The 2020 Democratic lineup so far consists of a few long shot candidates as well as some high profile candidates. This competition is already the most wide open race since 1992. The party has no obvious front-runner and no unifying ideology as it goes into 2020. Each candidate must stand out while their party struggles to identify itself after dominance by the Clintons and Barack Obama.

Pete Buttigieg, the 37 year old military veteran and Mayor of South Bend, Indiana, is one long-shot candidate. His campaign is stressing his youthful generational identity and his call for policies concerning issues like climate change and economic opportunity. Buttigieg is the first openly LGBTQ elected official to run for President.

Another long shot candidate is John Delaney, the 55 year old former congressman from Maryland and a former businessman. He was first elected to the House of Representatives in 2012, and has already visited every county in Iowa. He has painted himself as a bipartisan problem-solver, but also endorses liberal causes such as universal healthcare.

Former tech executive and presidential long-shot Andrew Yang, 44, is running a campaign that proposes to establish a universal basic income of $1,000 per month for all Americans, funded by the federal government.

Richard Ojeda, the 48 year old former West Virginia state senator and military veteran has slightly more name recognition in his home state. He made his name in politics as a leading voice in the teacher protests in the West Virginia state capitol. He ran for the House in 2018, but lost in a heavily Republican district. Ojeda aims to lessen the influence of powerful financial interests within the Democratic party and return the party to its populist roots.

Tulsi Gabbard, the 37 year old congresswoman from Hawaii and Army National Guard veteran, must overcome some past political baggage should she hope to move up in the primary race. She has a history of working for an anti-gay advocacy group and has faced criticism for meeting with the Syrian president, who is accused of advancing chemical weapons attacks against civilians. Gabbard’s signature issue is her opposition to American military intervention overseas.

Former housing secretary, former mayor of San Antonio and rising political star during the Obama administration Julián Castro, 44, is poised to run a promising campaign with his platform of universal prekindergarten, “Medicare for all” and immigration reform. He may face difficulty with funding if fellow Texan Beto O’Rourke, who easily collects small donor contributions, joins the race for the nomination.

Kirsten Gillibrand, the 52 year old senator from New York has moved away from a conservative past to become one of the Senate’s leading liberal voices. Women’s equality and opportunity are the core of her policy agenda.

“I’m going to run for president of the United States because as a young mom I am going to fight for other people’s kids as hard as I would fight for my own,” said Gillibrand to the New York Times.

Senator Elizabeth Warren, 69, has done some of the most extensive preparations for a 2020 bid and attempted to dispel questions about her Native American heritage, which sparked controversy. Her campaign focuses on income inequality and taking on big corporations and political corruption.  

“It’s time for women to go to Washington and fix our broken government, and that includes a woman at the top,” said Warren to the New York Times.

Last but not least, Kamala Harris, the 54 year old senator from California, former California attorney general and former San Francisco district attorney, has entered the 2020 race. She joined the Senate in 2016 and quickly gained popularity for her rigorous questioning of presidential cabinet and Supreme Court nominees. Harris is the first African-American woman to announce a run in 2020, bringing forth history making potential to the race.

“I believe our country wants and needs some leadership that provides a vision of the country in which everyone could see themselves,” said Harris, according to the New York Times.

While the 2020 Democratic field is already crowded, more Democrats may yet announce a bid for President. Cory Booker (D-NJ) and former Colorado governor John Hickenlooper are at least two candidates who are expected to join in on the 2020 race. Former Vice President Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders are also being closely watched for potential 2020 runs.

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