Less than two years out from the 2020 US presidential election, the pool of Democratic candidates vying for their party’s nomination is among the largest and most diverse in United Stateshistory.
Here is a look at the current 2020 Democratic presidential field:
Michael Bennet, 54
Michael Bennet has served as a US senator from Colorado since 2009. Bennet, a former head of the Denver school district, carved out a profile as a wonky, policy-oriented senator.
He gained internet fame this year for a harsh scolding of Republican Senator Ted Cruz of Texas over the government shutdown.
Bennet was close to launching a presidential campaign after that, but had to pause it when he was diagnosed with prostate cancer.
Bennet’s office said last month that the senator was successfully treated. That cleared the way for his May 2 campaign launch.
Joe Biden, 76
Joe Biden served as vice president under former President Barack Obama from 2009 to 2017 after nearly four decades serving as a senator from Delaware.
Biden is the most experienced politician in the race, and the among the oldest at 76. This will be his third presidential run. His first White House bid in 1987 ended after a plagiarism scandal.
In a video announcement of his candidacy posted on Twitter on April 25, Biden focused on the 2017 deadly clash between white supremacists and counterprotesters in Charlottesville, Virginia. Biden noted US President Donald Trump’s comments that there were some “very fine people” on both sides of the violent encounter, which left one woman dead.
“We are in the battle for the soul of this nation,” Biden said. “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.”
Last month, Biden struggled to respond to comments from Lucy Flores, a 2014 lieutenant governor nominee in Nevada, who said he made her uncomfortable by touching her shoulders and kissing the back of her head before a campaign event. Several other women have made similar claims.
In a video, Biden pledged to be “more mindful” of respecting “personal space”, but Flores told Fox News this week that the former senator’s jokes on the matter have been “so incredibly disrespectful”.
The incident is just a glimpse of the harsh vetting from both Democrats and Republicans expected for Biden, who has run for president twice before but never from such a strong political starting position.
In recent weeks, he was repeatedly forced to explain his 1991 decision, as Senate Judiciary Committee chairman, to allow Anita Hill to face questions about her allegations of sexual harassment against Clarence Thomas, then a nominee for the Supreme Court.
Biden has since apologised for his role in the hearing. But in the #MeToo era, it is another example of why critics believe he may struggle to catch on with the Democratic primary voters of 2020.
Bill de Blasio, 58
The New York City mayor emerged as a progressive standard-bearer in 2013, when he won the first of two four-year terms at the helm of the country’s biggest city on a platform of addressing income inequality. But he has struggled amid middling approval ratings and some political setbacks to build a national profile.
De Blasio, 58, can point to a number of policy wins in New York, including universal prekindergarten, a higher minimum wage and paid sick leave.
De Blasio has called Trump a “bully” and a “con artist” and criticised his administration’s positions on immigration, climate change and social welfare.
Cory Booker, 49
Cory Booker has served as a US senator from New Jersey – the first African American in the state’s history to hold the office – since 2013. He was the mayor of Newark from 2006 to 2013.
His entry into the Democratic primary was steeped in history and symbolism, befitting his status as the second black candidate in an historically diverse field. Invoking the legacy of the national movements for civil rights and for women’s suffrage, the New Jersey senator during his candidacy announcement urged a return to a “common sense of purpose”.
Booker could face difficulty winning the hearts of the progressive Democratic base due to his past financial ties to banking and pharmaceutical interests. He said he would stop taking contributions from pharmaceutical companies in 2017.
He announced his presidential bid on February 1.
Steven Bullock, 53
The Democratic governor of Montana, re-elected in 2016 in a conservative state that Trump carried by 20 percentage points, has touted his electability and ability to work across party lines.
Bullock, 53, has made campaign finance reform a cornerstone of his agenda, and emphasises his success in forging compromises with the Republican-led state legislature on bills to expand Medicaid, increase campaign finance disclosures, bolster pay equity for women and protect public lands.
Pete Buttigieg, 37
Pete Buttigieg has served as mayor of South Bend, Indiana, since 2012.
Before that, Buttigieg was a consultant for McKinsey and company.
He is the first openly gay Democratic candidate to run for president. He announced his presidential bid on January 23, 2019.
There are no policy positions on his website. He has virtually no paid presence in the states that matter most. And his campaign manager is a high-school friend with no experience in presidential politics.
Despite this, he has suddenly become one of the hottest names in the Democrats’ presidential primary season. On the campaign trail, he has frequently spoken about the struggle to legalise same-sex marriage.
He has also repeatedly criticised Vice President Mike Pence for his views that undermine LGBTQ rights.
“I’m not critical of his faith; I’m critical of bad policies. I don’t have a problem with religion. I’m religious, too. I have a problem with religion being used as a justification to harm people and especially in the LGBTQ community,” the Indiana Democrat said in an interview with NBC’s The Ellen DeGeneres Show this month.
Buttigieg’s moment may pass if he does not take swift action to build a national organisation capable of harnessing the energy, he will need to sustain his surge in the nine months or so before the first votes are cast.
Julian Castro, 44
Julian Castro was elected mayor of San Antonio, Texas in 2009 and served until 2014.
He served as the 16th US secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) under US President Barack Obama from 2014 until 2017.
Castro, the grandson of Mexican immigrants, was raised by a local Latina activist, and after a brief career in law, he was elected mayor of the nation’s seventh-largest city at the age of 34.
It was not long after that election that Democrats nationally embraced him as a star in the making, particularly one from Texas, where a booming Hispanic population is rapidly changing the state’s demographics and improving the party’s fortunes.
He announced his presidential run on January 12, 2019.
John Delaney, 56
John Delaney served as a US congressman for Maryland’s sixth district from 2013 to 2019.
Delaney, a former banking entrepreneur, is known as politically moderate with a willingness to reach across the aisle.
He has supported a measure to raise money to build infrastructure by allowing US corporations to avoid taxes when they repatriate profits overseas if they buy bonds that would be used to build infrastructure.
He announced his presidential run in a Washington Post op-ed published on July 28, 2017.
Delaney, one of the wealthiest members of Congress, was the first to announce he will seek his party’s nomination in 2020.
He said he was entering the presidential race early because he knows he will need time to build name recognition.
Tulsi Gabbard, 38
Tusi Gabbard has served as a US congresswoman from Hawaii’s second district since 2013.
Gabbard is the first Hindu member of Congress. At the age of 21, she became the youngest to be elected to a US state legislature serving on the Hawaii House of Representatives.
She has also served in the Hawaii Army National Guard in a combat zone in Iraq and was deployed to Kuwait.
She was a fierce opponent of same-sex marriage when she served in the state legislature in her 20s. But she has since disavowed those views and professes her support for LGBTQ rights.
Critics have pounced on her efforts to block the legalisation of same-sex marriage in Hawaii and a meeting she held with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Earlier this year, she penned an op-ed responding to media reports about her alleged ties to Hindu nationalists.
“While the headlines covering my announcement could have celebrated this landmark first, and maybe even informed Americans about the world’s third-largest religion, some have instead fomented suspicion, fear and religious bigotry about not only me but also my supporters,” she wrote.
Gabbard officially launched her presidential campaign on February 2, 2019.
Kirsten Gillibrand, 52
Kirsten Gillibrand has served as a US senator from New York since 2009. Before that, Gillibrand served in the House of Representatives from 2007 to 2009.
Gillibrand has also worked for the Department of Housing and Urban Development. She worked on Hillary Clinton’s 2000 US Senate campaign.
She has been a vocal advocate for electing more women to office and a forceful critic of the Trump administration.
Gillibrand, who has been a forceful public advocate for victims of sexual misconduct, came under fire for how her deputy chief of staff, Anne Bradley, handled a sexual harassment claim made by a female staffer against one of Gillibrand’s male aides.
She announced her presidential run on January 15, 2019.
Mike Gravel, 89
The 89-year-old former senator made a little-known run for the Democratic nomination in 2008 and is taking another stab at the White House.
One of his top issues is advocating for direct democracy, which would remove power from Congress and have voters decide policy changes.
Gravel represented Alaska in the US Senate from 1969 to 1981.
He lost re-election in the 1980 race. Since leaving the Senate, Gravel worked in real estate and finance. In 2008, after failing to gain any traction in the Democratic contest, he also made an unsuccessful bid to be the Libertarian nominee for president.
Kamala Harris, 54
Kamala Harris has served as a US senator from California since 2017.
Before joining the Senate, Harris was the attorney general of California. She has also served as San Francisco district attorney.
Her track record as San Francisco’s district attorney and California’s attorney general has drawn scrutiny in a Democratic Party that has shifted in recent years on criminal justice issues.
Harris is the daughter of immigrants from Jamaica and India.
She supports a middle-class tax credit, Medicare for All healthcare funding reform, the Green New Deal and the legalisation of cannabis.
She launched her presidential run on January 21, 2019.
Amy Klobuchar, 58
Amy Klobuchar served as a US senator from Minnesota since 2007, becoming her state’s first elected female senator.
Before joining the Senate, she was the Hennepin County lawyer.
Klobuchar gained national attention in 2018 when she sparred with Brett Kavanaugh during Senate hearings for his Supreme Court nomination.
She announced her presidential run on February 10, 2019.
On the campaign trail, the former prosecutor and corporate lawyer supports an alternative to traditional Medicare healthcare funding and is taking a hard stance against rising prescription drug prices.