Fifteen candidates are competing to be the Democratic Party’s nominee for president — that is, if we’re counting just the more prominent ones — now that Sen. Kamala Harris of California has dropped out. Here are the 11 men and four women aiming to face off against President Trump in 2020.
Michael Bennet, Colorado senator
The decade Michael Bennet has spent in the Senate has given him a reputation as a straight-talker. The moderate has said he was compelled to run because of the “toxicity” of partisan politics. The descendant of Holocaust survivors, he grew up in Washington, where his father was an aide to Vice President Hubert Humphrey.
Joe Biden, former vice president
From the moment he announced, and perhaps even before it became official, Joe Biden was considered a front-runner, leading to attacks from his rivals and President Trump. Biden has decades of political experience — 36 years in the Senate and eight as Barack Obama’s vice president — which has given his rivals a long record to criticize. He has apologized for nostalgic remarks about working with segregationist senators and faced attacks from Sens. Cory Booker and Kamala Harris over his work on busing and criminal justice issues as a senator from Delaware. House Democrats have launched an impeachment inquiry into Trump, who has attempted to enlist the help of foreign governments — first Ukraine and now China — to investigate Biden and his son on unsubstantiated allegations of corruption.
Michael Bloomberg, former New York mayor
Billionaire Michael Bloomberg launched his campaign on Nov. 24. The former New York mayor is positioning himself as a moderate and “a new choice for Democrats,” according to his campaign website. Bloomberg opposes Medicare for All plans, insisting every American will have access to affordable healthcare without phasing out private insurance. One of the richest men in the world, he has previously funded Democratic causes such as gun control and addressing climate change. In November, he spent $31 million on television ads across the country. As mayor, he mandated stop-and-frisk searches that disproportionately targeted black and Latino men, for which he recently apologized, despite having defended the practice as recently as January. He grew up outside Boston and later attended Johns Hopkins University and Harvard Business School before starting his own company, Bloomberg LP.
Cory Booker, New Jersey senator
Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey has proposed a national license for gun owners as part of a sweeping gun control agenda. His policy proposals include a plan for clemency reviews of federal prisoners, which could shorten sentences for as many as 20,000 nonviolent offenders, and an immigration plan that focuses on executive orders. The Rhodes scholar and vegan has campaigned on a message of love and unity, and he earned praise for his performance at the second debate. But in September, he said he would be forced to drop out if he did not reach a short-term fundraising goal of $1.7 million in donations. He eventually met his goal.
Pete Buttigieg, mayor of South Bend, Ind.
Pete Buttigieg faced unexpected early success when he launched his bid. The son of two Notre Dame professors, Buttigieg (pronounced BUDDHA-judge) is a Rhodes scholar and Afghanistan war veteran. The two-term mayor of South Bend, Ind., faced anger from constituents over a white police officer’s killing of a black man, highlighting resentment among African American residents. He continues to struggle in the polls with black voters, a key electorate for Democrats, but with centrists’ support, he is surging in Iowa. Buttigieg raised the most money of any candidate in the second quarter, amassing $25 million and followed with $19.1 million the next quarter.
Julián Castro, former HUD secretary
Julián Castro has described himself as the “antithesis of Donald Trump.” Castro, who served as Housing and Urban Development secretary under President Obama, has called for a sharp increase in federal spending to address homelessness, saying he views housing “as a human right.” The former San Antonio mayor is the only Latino vying for the Democratic nomination. After the deadly El Paso mass shooting, he released an ad on Fox News accusing President Trump of inciting racism leading to the massacre. Castro’s grandmother immigrated to the U.S. from Mexico, and his identical twin is Joaquin Castro, a Democratic congressman from Texas. He has escorted LGBTQ and disabled asylum seekers to Texas from Mexico to highlight vulnerable people stuck in the Trump administration’s Remain in Mexico program.
John Delaney, former Maryland congressman
Instead of running for reelection, former Rep. John Delaney of Maryland announced in 2017 that he would run for president. With his early campaign kickoff, the political moderate has made numerous trips to New Hampshire and Iowa — yet has hardly registered in polls in either state. He has largely self-financed his campaign. Before being elected to the House, he created two publicly traded companies; he was considered one of the wealthiest members of Congress.
Tulsi Gabbard, Hawaii congresswoman
At 21, Tulsi Gabbard became the youngest person elected to the Hawaii Legislature and in 2012 became the first Hindu elected to Congress. Gabbard, who served in the National Guard in the Middle East, took two weeks off the campaign trail in August to go on a training mission in Indonesia. The frequent critic of U.S. foreign policy has been criticized herself for a 2016 Syria trip and meeting with President Bashar Assad, who has been accused of war crimes during the country’s civil war. She questioned the U.S. intelligence community’s assessment that Assad was responsible for a chemical attack on civilians that killed dozens.
Amy Klobuchar, Minnesota senator
Amy Klobuchar is using her Minnesota background to appeal to a Midwestern audience. The senator, who overwhelmingly won her third term and captured rural counties Trump carried in 2016, entered the race mostly unknown to those outside her home state. She drew national attention last year during the confirmation hearings for Supreme Court Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh when she asked whether he had ever blacked out from drinking alcohol. The candidate hits many of the same points as other Democrats but has avoided using language that appeals to the party’s left.
Deval Patrick, former Massachusetts governor
Deval Patrick launched his campaign on Nov. 14. He will aim to position himself as a pragmatist suited to take on President Trump. Patrick said he opposes Medicare for all but supports a “public option” that would allow people to enroll in a government-sponsored health plan. Patrick is the only African American to be elected Massachusetts governor, and he headed the civil rights division of the Justice Department during the Clinton administration. Patrick, who has close ties to President Obama and his allies, grew up poor in Chicago then attended Harvard University and Harvard Law School. Until the day before his announced his campaign, he was on the payroll of Bain Capital, the private equity firm founded by former GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney.
Bernie Sanders, Vermont senator
Bernie Sanders, the lone democratic socialist in the race, emerged as an improbable campaign rock star by mounting a surprisingly strong but unsuccessful challenge to Hillary Clinton in the 2016 race for the Democratic presidential nomination. Now Sanders is staking ground as an avatar of the party’s left with his calls that echo his 2016 campaign for free college tuition and “Medicare for all.” But he’s no longer in a one-on-one fight against a Clinton who embodied the party establishment, and some of his former supporters have moved on or are shopping around. In early October, the 78-year-old suffered a heart attack while campaigning in Las Vegas. He returned to the trail at the October Democratic debate.
Tom Steyer, former hedge fund manager
Tom Steyer, who has toyed for years with a run for public office in California, announced in January that he would not join the race for president. Six months later, he changed his mind. Steyer built his fortune as the founder and manager of Farallon Capital Management, a San Francisco hedge fund. After leaving the fund in 2012, he became a top Democratic donor. He has also promoted the fight against climate change and the drive to impeach President Trump. The big question for Steyer is whether Democrats want a billionaire with no government experience to challenge the one who now occupies the White House.
Elizabeth Warren, Massachusetts senator
Elizabeth Warren has offered, bit by bit, the most sweeping array of policy proposals, including universal child care, student debt relief, opioid addiction relief, abortion rights protections and more. Her campaign mantra is “I’ve got a plan for that!” At an event in Los Angeles, she riled up the crowd over pennies — her proposed tax on the ultra-wealthy that would amount to 2 cents on every dollar over $50 million. The former Harvard law professor has steadily gained momentum in town halls and candidate forums, fending off skeptics who have questioned her electability. She often spends hours after her rallies taking selfies with her supporters; her campaign estimates she’s taken thousands. A self-proclaimed capitalist, she calls for stricter market regulation and is known for her sharp criticism of big banks. She has become known for jogging into rallies and for standing for hours after events to take selfies with fans.
Marianne Williamson, author
Marianne Williamson, the author of “Tears to Triumph: The Spiritual Journey from Suffering to Enlightenment,” ran unsuccessfully for a U.S. House seat representing the California coast from Malibu to Palos Verdes in 2014. Now, the self-help writer says her presidential campaign offers Americans a “genuine pattern disruption,” not just the “same-old, same-old politics.” Williamson apologized in June for calling mandated vaccinations “draconian” and “Orwellian” at an event in New Hampshire. When she failed to qualify for the third Democratic debate, Williamson offered her own commentary at an event in Beverly Hills.
Andrew Yang, businessman
Andrew Yang has a small but enthusiastic group of followers. His loyalists, known as the “Yang Gang,” come out in full force when he speaks. In September, hundreds showed up to Yang’s Los Angeles rally, where he dropped f-bombs and one-liners that the crowd enthusiastically endorsed. Yang is polling in the single digits, but he has inched past better-known lawmakers in qualifying for primary debates. His signature proposal is to provide a universal basic income — $1,000 a month — for every American adult in an effort to counter job losses brought about by automation.
Who has dropped out?
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio; New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand; former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper; Washington Gov. Jay Inslee; Montana Gov. Steve Bullock; Sen. Kamala Harris of California; former U.S. Reps. Beto O’Rourke of Texas and Joe Sestak of Pennsylvania; Miramar, Fla., Mayor Wayne Messam; and U.S. Reps. Seth Moulton of Massachusetts, Tim Ryan of Ohio and Eric Swalwell of the Bay Area have all left the race. Inslee, Moulton, Ryan and Swalwell are all seeking reelection, and Hickenlooper will run for the U.S. Senate.