There’s no shortage of people with their eye on the Oval Office. As of June 18, 2019, a total of 1,238 people have registered paperwork with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) to run for president of the United States.
Of course, they’re not all serious (names like “The Committee to Put Backbone in the White House” give it away), and a successful presidential candidate has to raise around $500 million to run for office.
As the 2020 presidential race heats up ahead of the first debate in late June, here the most recognizable candidates.
Joe Biden (D)
On April 25, former vice president Joe Biden announced — finally — that he was running for president. He’s run for president twice before, and reportedly President Trump thinks he’s his biggest threat in 2020.
“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,” said Biden in his announcement video.
Wayne Messam (D)
Wayne Messam, the mayor of Miramar, Florida, announced his candidacy on March 28, stating, “The promise of America belongs to all of us. That’s why I’m going to be running for president. To be your champion.”
“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 says on his campaign website.
Beto O’Rourke (D)
Former U.S. representative from El Paso and Democratic candidate for Senate in Texas, Beto O’Rourke has been in the running since March, but has already rebooted his campaign following disappointing early poll results. With a new media and fundraising strategy, he said he hopes he “can do a better job.” Immigration and a strong stance against Trump’s call for a tighter border are central to O’Rourke’s message.
John Hickenlooper (D)
Weeks after he wrapped up his position as governor of Colorado, John Hickenlooper launched his campaign for the presidency. Previously, he was a brewery owner, geologist and mayor of Denver.
Hickenlooper, who calls himself a “pragmatic progressive,” said on “Good Morning America” that he was running for president because he believes he can beat Trump, “bring people together on the other side and actually get stuff done.”
Jay Inslee (D)
A second-term governor of Washington who was previously in the U.S. House of Representatives, Gov. Jay Inslee’s campaign is focused on climate change. In fact, when he released his announcement video on March 1, he claimed he is the only candidate who “will make defeating climate change our nation’s No. 1 priority.”
Bernie Sanders (D)
Sen. Bernie Sanders finished runner-up to Hilary Clinton in the 2016 Democratic primary and is back for the 2020 race with the same main goals: redistributing wealth and fighting inequality.
“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,” said the independent Vermonter when he announced he would run again.
Amy Klobuchar (D)
Three-term senator from Minnesota, Amy Klobuchar, announced plans to run in February.
“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 in her announcement.
Klobuchar has been hailed one of the most “electable” candidates by CNN’s Harry Enten; on the downside, her image has been tarnished somewhat by reports of harsh treatment of staff.
Elizabeth Warren (D)
Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a former professor at Harvard Law School and a Massachusetts senator since 2013, confirmed her plans to run in December 2018. Her campaign focuses on inequality; she’s proposed an “ultra-millionaire tax” on people worth more than $50 million. Warren has also won some supporters with her proposal to cancel student loan debt for 42 million Americans.
“We can make our democracy work for all of us. We can make our economy work for all of us,” Warren said in her announcement video.
Cory Booker (D)
As a New Jersey senator, former mayor of Newark and graduate of Stanford University and Yale Law School, Cory Booker has made criminal-justice reform (including marijuana liberalization) a priority. He launched his campaign in February with a video on his website, stating, “I grew up knowing that the only way we can make change is when people come together.”
Marianne Williamson (D)
Most people know Marianne Williamson as an inspirational author, speaker and subject of a million Instagram memes (“Joy is what happens to us when we allow ourselves to recognize how good things really are”), but she’s also running for president. She announced her candidacy on Jan. 28, 2019, writing on her website that America needs “a leader who is a moral and spiritual awakener.”
Williamson’s policies broadly align with the ideals of mainstream Democrats, and her campaign includes proposals to reform gun laws, provide universal healthcare and stop man-made climate change.
Kirsten Gillibrand (D)
In 2009, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand replaced Hillary Clinton as a New York senator after serving in the U.S. House. Her campaign emphasizes women’s issues like equal pay and ending harassment in the military, and she’s been a fierce critic of Trump, calling on him to resign over sexual assault allegations (which he has denied). Gillibrand announced her intention to run in January on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.”
Julián Castro (D)
Julián Castro was secretary of housing and urban development under Barack Obama from 2014 to 2017; before that, he served as mayor of San Antonio, Texas. The longtime supporter of LGBTQ rights and early childhood education announced his bid for the presidency on Jan. 12.
“I am not a frontrunner in this race, but I have not been a frontrunner at any time in my life,” he told CNN before his official announcement.
Tulsi Gabbard (D)
Iraq War veteran Tulsi Gabbard has represented Hawaii in the U.S. House since 2013, and in 2016, she resigned from her post as vice-chair of the Democratic National Committee to support Bernie Sanders in his presidential bid. Gabbard, who is both the first American Samoan and Hindu member of Congress, made her official candidacy announcement in Honolulu on Feb. 2.
“There is one main issue that is central to the rest, and that is the issue of war and peace,” Gabbard said on CNN’s “The Van Jones Show.”
John Delaney (D)
Former four-term congressman from Maryland, businessman John Delaney announced he was running for president way back in July 2017, according to Boston radio station WBUR.
“We have to think differently about everything,” Delaney told WBUR. “We really need to move to a bit of a post-partisan world where we actually start solving problems.”
Andrew Yang (D)
Tech entrepreneur Andrew Yang, the brains behind the test-preparation company Manhattan Prep and startup incubator Venture for America, filed to run for president on Nov. 6, 2017. His central idea is a $1,000 per month universal basic income for every American adult.
“I’m a capitalist,” he told The New York Times in 2018. “And I believe that universal basic income is necessary for capitalism to continue.”
Pete Buttigieg (D)
Mayor of South Bend, Indiana, and Afghanistan War veteran Pete Buttigieg officially launched his campaign on April 14 and has experienced early success in the polls. He’s one of the first openly LGBTQ candidates to ever run for the presidency under a major party and his campaign is based on “walking away from the politics of the past.”
Michael Bennet (D)
Sen. Michael Bennet, who has served in the Senate since 2009, announced his campaign on May 2 during an appearance on “CBS This Morning.” His fan base grew after a video of his rant about Ted Cruz during the January government shutdown went viral.
According to The New York Times, Bennet is “known for his work on education and immigration reform.”
Bill de Blasio (D)
Two-term New York City mayor Bill de Blasio announced his campaign on May 16.
“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.” At the core of his mayoral focus in New York City has been guaranteed healthcare, paid sick leave and pre-K for all families.
Steve Bullock (D)
Steve Bullock, the governor of Montana, launched his campaign on May 14, saying, “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.”
Seth Moulton (D)
Harvard grad and congressman from Massachusetts Seth Moulton alluded to his previous military career (he served in the Marines in Iraq) when he said he thought the Democrats needed “someone … for whom standing up to a bully like Donald Trump isn’t the biggest challenge he or she has ever faced in life.”
Moulton announced his campaign on “Good Morning America” on April 22. According to his website, he supports paid family leave and the Green New Deal to combat climate change and wants to give all consumers government-backed healthcare.
Eric Swalwell (D)
Four-term representative from California Eric Swalwell chose “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert” to announce his candidacy on April 8. Running on a gun-control platform, he said he has the “new energy and new ideas and a new confidence” the Democratic Party needs to succeed.
His main campaign issue will be gun reform, as he tweeted on April 3, “I’m not afraid of the NRA. I’m not afraid. No fear.”
Mike Gravel (D)
At 89, former senator for Alaska and 2008 presidential hopeful Mike Gravel is the oldest presidential candidate in history. He launched his campaign on April 8 and was honest about his intentions, laughing at the idea of becoming president. His campaign manager told The Atlantic, “The senator does not want people to vote for him.” The goal, instead, is to get onto the debate stage and push the envelope on issues other candidates may want to avoid.
Tim Ryan (D)
Member of the House and outspoken critic of Democratic leadership, Tim Ryan used an appearance on “The View” on April 4 to announce his intention to run.
“I believe in the free enterprise system,” the Ohio representative 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.”
Kamala Harris (D)
First-term senator from California Kamala Harris was previously attorney general in the state. She announced her candidacy on Jan. 21 — Martin Luther King Jr. Day — and took the opportunity to pay 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’ website promotes her commitment to public safety and civil rights.
William Weld (R)
William Weld is a former Justice Department official, and he served as governor of Massachusetts from 1991 to 1997. He has campaigned as a libertarian — he was the party’s vice-presidential nominee in 2016 — but moved back to the Republican party to challenge Trump.
He officially launched his campaign on April 15, having previously said at a “Politics and Eggs” breakfast in New Hampshire, “I think our country is in grave peril and I cannot sit any longer quietly on the sidelines.”