By Caitlin Huey-Burns CBS News November 12, 2018, 3:34 PM One of these Democrats could be the next president
While the results from last week's midterm election are still trickling in, being counted or recounted, the Democratic primary for the 2020 presidential race is already in full swing, if unofficially. While few candidates have announced, many likely contenders spent the 2018 campaign stumping and fundraising for candidates in the hopes of making their respective marks within the party. With so many Democrats expressing interest in taking on Trump, CBS has compiled a list of potential candidates and where they are staking their claim in what figures to be the most crowded field yet. The record year was 2016, when 17 major candidates vied for the GOP nomination.
California Sen. Kamala Harris
The first-term senator has seized her perch on the Judiciary Committee as a national platform, most notably during the confirmation hearings for Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh when she asked, "Can you think of any laws that give the government the power to make decisions about the male body?" Additionally, Harris spent much of the 2018 midterm election cycle campaigning for colleagues and building a network of candidates.
New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker
A former mayor of Newark, Booker is known for his social media savvy and attention-getting performances— most notably, his "I am Spartacus" moment at the Kavanaugh hearings. Booker has already been testing the waters in Iowa, and told reporters there recently that he wants to "be a voice in this country for love." The primary process will test whether this approach matches or clashes with party voters' sentiments about the president.
Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren
Known as a progressive darling, Warren has built the most extensive political network yet, reaching all 50 states. The senator has also shown, for better or for worse, a knack for going toe-to-toe with President Trump, releasing the results of a DNA test on any Native American ancestry and using Twitter to fire back at the president.
New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand
Easily re-elected in 2018, Gillibrand has developed a network to engage more women in politics through her Off the Sidelines PAC. She has also show she's not afraid to take on her own party–leading the charge to oust fellow Democrat Al Franken from the Senate over misconduct allegations and arguing last year that former President Bill Clinton should have resigned over the scandal involving Monica Lewinsky.
Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar
Klobuchar was overwhelmingly re-elected to a third term in November in a state Donald Trump came close to winning in 2016, and is a frequent guest at various state party gathers, including in early states. She was a prominent figure during the Kavanaugh hearing as one of the few women of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and earned acclaim within the party for her back and forth with the judge. Kavanaugh apologized to Klobuchar after responding harshly to her question about drinking, after she had detailed her father's alcoholism. Klobuchar is known for her "Minnesota nice" personality, but cut her chops as a Hennepin County prosecutor and has degrees from Yale and the University of Chicago.
Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley
Perhaps among the lesser known of this group, Merkley garnered national attention for being among the first politicians to visit a detention center at the southern border. When he was turned away by officials there, he streamed the experience in a Facebook video that went viral, and drew attention to the humanitarian crisis there spurred by the Trump Administration's "zero tolerance" policy.
Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown
Fresh off winning his Senate re-election bid last week, the Ohio Democrat says that it's possible he'll run for president in 2020. A liberal who can win in Trump country. Brown picked up his third term in a state the president won by eight points — on the same day voters there chose a Republican for governor. Known for his scratchy voice and disheveled look, Brown has carved out a niche for himself as a working class champion — and one whose views on trade policy and China are more in line with Trump than most traditional Republicans.
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders
The runner-up for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2016, Sanders has a vast grassroots network that has continued to work through the midterms. While many of Sanders' candidates foundered in the midterms, many of the policies he has championed — like "Medicare for All" and a federal minimum wage — have become policy mainstays in the party.
The Early Bird
Maryland Rep. John Delaney
While candidates usually play coy, Delaney blew past convention and announced his candidacy in July of 2017, just half a year into Trump's first year in office. Delaney, a wealthy former businessman, is still the the least known candidate, though he has made frequent trips to the early states and has endorsed local office candidates in Iowa and New Hampshire.
The Youths or The Young Guns
California Rep. Eric Swalwell
The 37-year-old congressman is a familiar face on cable news, using his perch as a member of the House Intelligence Committee to challenge the president, and he has also become a prominent figures in the congressional investigation into Russian meddling and allegations of collusion.
Texas Rep. Beto O'Rourke
Could losing be winning when it comes to the Democratic presidential primary? The 46-year old El Paso lawmaker came within three points of winning a Senate seat in ruby red Texas, and raised over $38 million in the process. His candidacy inspired a nationwide Democratic obsession and garnered endorsements from the likes of Beyonce.
Massachusetts Rep. Seth Moulton
A former Marine Corps officer, the 40-year-old, two-term Moulton set out to create a green wave of military vets running for office in the 2018 cycle. He has also been critical of his party's leadership, calling for fresher faces to lead the party.
The West Virginia state senator and veteran of Army tours in Iraq and Afghanistan announced his 2020 on Monday, nearly a week after losing his bid to represent the 3rd Congressional District by a dozen points. Ojeda, who voted for Mr. Trump in 2016, garnered national attention over the course of the 2018 cycle running as a Democrat in a state where the president is most popular. "The President of the United States, Republicans and Democrats, have focused more on infighting, political wars, than they have focused on being there for the working class citizens," Ojeda said in a Facebook live post announcing his presidential bid.
The attorney for adult film actress Stormy Daniels and a prolific cable news presence has made visits to early states and developed his own super PAC. Avenatti's style has irked fellow Democrats, particularly during the Kavanaugh hearings, but the attorney argues he's best positioned to play and beat Mr. Trump at his own game.
The newly retired Starbucks CEO has inserted himself into political discourse, criticizing Mr. Trump's rhetoric. CNBC reports that Schultz is building a public relations team to help with the release of a new book and a possible presidential run. One member of that PR team is Steve Schmidt, who managed John McCain's 2008 presidential bid. Schmidt left the GOP in June and is a frequent critic of the president.
The former hedge fund manager has long been involved in Democratic politics, and spent over $120 million on the midterms. He has found his niche in the field by leading the calls for Mr. Trump's impeachment. In an interview with CBSN, Steyer called for "transformational leadership" and someone "who will not try to meet in the middle" when it comes to a candidate for president. Steyer hasn't made up his mind about running, but said "I promise I'm thinking of it really hard."
The businessman and former New York City mayor spent over $110 million on the midterms, and has been an outspoken advocate for gun control. Bloomberg is a businessman who was elected mayor as a Republican and as an independent, and recently joined the Democratic Party. Bloomberg spoke at the Democratic National Convention in 2016, and drew attention for saying of Mr. Trump, "I'm a New Yorker, and I know a con when I see one."
Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper
The Colorado governor and former businessman is leaving office in January, but is openly talking about his 2020 prospects, telling reporters in New Hampshire recently that he was "leaning strongly" towards running. Hickenlooper has been twice elected in a purple state critical to winning the presidency. He signed gun control measures in Colorado that were met with backlash there, but could be appealing among Democratic primary voters.
Montana Gov. Steve Bullock
The Montana governor has a proven ability to win in a red state, having been re-elected by four points in 2016 when Trump carried the state by over 20 points. Bullock was elected to lead the National Governors Association, which helps him build a network of office holders and donors. The governor would be seen as a moderate force in a Democratic primary, but has also voiced support for tougher gun laws, including an assault weapons ban.
Former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe
Having served as governor of Virginia and chairman of the DNC, the longtime friend of the Clintons has built a critical fundraising network around the country. McAuliffe campaigned for candidates in the 2018 midterms, including in the first caucus state of Iowa. He touts economic developments and low unemployment in Virginia as a calling card. He pushed for Medicaid expansion in his state, though it met resistance in the GOP legislature, and moved to restore voting rights to felons.
Former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick
The former Massachusetts governor is being forced to defend his current position with the private equity firm Bain Capital, and could raise problems with Democratic primary voters who have shown a resistance to Wall Street. "I've never taken a job where I've left my conscious at the door and I haven't started now," he said on CNN over the summer. Patrick, who was appointed by President Clinton to oversee the civil rights division at the Justice Department, is popular among former Obama officials. But he has also told former Obama adviser David Axelrod that "I'm not sure there is a place for me" in the crowded Democratic primary field.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo
The New York governor, and son of Mario Cuomo, soundly won his primary against Cynthia Nixon in September and was easily reelected to a third term in November. Cuomo ruled out a presidential run during a debate with Nixon, pledging to serve a full term if elected. But the governor has proposed legislation like free college tuition for middle and low income families, and that would be appealing to Democratic primary voters.
Former New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu
A southern Democrat from a prominent political family, the former mayor of New Orleans could appeal to voters seeing a moderate force in the party to be successful in a general election. Landrieu wrote a book this year titled "In the Shadow of Statues: A White Southerner Confronts History" in which he describes his decision to remove four confederate statues in his city, a decision that gained national attention as the then-mayor confronted the difficult issues of race and division.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti
The mayor of Los Angeles has been a frequent traveler to early caucus and primary states, making no secret of his interest in running for president in 2020. Jewish and also of Mexican descent (and the son of former district attorney Gil Garcetti, who prosecuted OJ Simpson), Garcetti sees opportunity in the Democratic Party's diversity, and he considers his management of the country's second largest city to be his calling card.
Former San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro
The former mayor of San Antonio and Housing and Urban Development secretary in the Obama administration has been considered a rising star in the party ever since he was tapped to speak at the Democratic National Convention in 2012. He has traveled to early states and recently published a biography and has said he is "likely" to run in 2020.
Former Vice President Joe Biden
The former vice president tops early polling of the 2020 field and has been traveling around the country over the past few months campaigning for Democratic candidates in the midterm. After sitting 2016 out, Biden told CBS This Morning that "I think about whether or not I should run based on very private decisions relating to my family and the loss of my son and what I want to do with the rest of my life…I think people are going to judge it, if I were to run. I think they're gonna judge me on my vitality."
Former Attorney General Eric Holder
The former attorney general garnered national controversy for his "When they go low, we kick 'em" remark and has been a top opponent for Republican lawmakers. But the Obama alum has also been visiting early states and has made gerrymandering reform a top priority since leaving the Justice Department.
A League of Her Own
Oprah Winfrey went door-to-door campaigning for gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams earlier this month, but has continued to pour cold water over her own political aspirations. Oprah piqued interest with a stirring speech at the Golden Globes in January.