Here are the 18 Democrats who are running for president
Posted January 21, 2019 8:18 a.m. EST
Updated October 24, 2019 1:03 p.m. EDT
CNN — The 2020 Democratic nominating contest is well underway, with 19 Democrats who have thrown their hats into the ring.
Here's an updated look of who's in and who's out. We're going to keep updating this list through the campaign season as candidates announce their intentions or drop their bids.
For the latest 2020 election news, check out CNN's full coverage.
Sen. Michael Bennet
KNOWN FOR: Bennet, the former superintendent of Denver Public Schools, was forced to hold off on entering the race following a diagnosis and subsequent treatment of prostate cancer in April. Having served in the Senate since 2009, Bennet has pitched himself in pre-campaign appearances and speeches as a pragmatic lawmaker who has a progressive voting record.
Former Vice President Joe Biden
KNOWN FOR: Biden's long-anticipated announcement marks his third presidential campaign after he passed on a 2016 run. His name recognition, decades of experience and ties to former President Barack Obama are seen as his greatest assets. But his track record on -- and public response to -- making some women uncomfortable with his behavior could be an obstacle to gaining modern voters, some of whom may also think that the party needs new, more diverse representation.
Sen. Cory Booker
STATE: New Jersey
KNOWN FOR: Booker, who boasts a Twitter following of more than 4 million people, gained national recognition during his tenure as Newark's mayor, at times answering pleas to shovel residents out after major snowstorms.
Gov. Steve Bullock
KNOWN FOR: Bullock, who served as Montana's attorney general before being elected governor in 2012, plans to lean heavily into his success in winning over Trump voters. During his re-election in 2016, he won by 4% at the same time Trump won Montana by more than 20%. His announcement video highlighted his successful efforts to expand Medicaid, his support for gay marriage and his bipartisan effort to ban dark money from the state's politics.
South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg
KNOWN FOR: Known locally in South Bend, Indiana, as "Mayor Pete," Buttigieg served as a naval officer in Afghanistan. Buttigieg, though a long shot, would be the youngest and first married gay president if elected. He would also be the first candidate to go from the mayor's office to the presidency.
Former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julián Castro
KNOWN FOR: The son of a Chicana activist, Castro served as mayor of San Antonio in 2009, focusing on education initiatives. Castro is currently the only Latino in the 2020 field.
Former Maryland Rep. John Delaney
KNOWN FOR: A self-made businessman, Delaney at one point was the youngest CEO on the New York Stock Exchange. Delaney has been running the longest -- he declared his candidacy in July 2017 -- but is still working to gain name recognition.
Rep. Tulsi Gabbard
KNOWN FOR: Gabbard is the first American Samoan and the first Hindu member of Congress, and brings her experience as an Iraq War veteran to the House Armed Services Committee. But she will have to overcome obstacles both old and new, including recent internal campaign turmoil and her controversial secret meeting with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in 2017.
Sen. Kamala Harris
KNOWN FOR: Harris is the daughter of Jamaican and Indian immigrants and grew up attending both a Baptist church and a Hindu temple. Her progressive stances supporting Medicare-for-all and marijuana legalization could clash with her law and order history as a former California state attorney general, including her previous support of reporting arrested undocumented juveniles to ICE.
Sen. Amy Klobuchar
KNOWN FOR: Klobuchar announced her run outdoors as it snowed, which she tied to her commitment to a "homegrown" campaign with "grit." The Minnesota moderate is looking to work across the aisle and win back fellow working class midwesterners.
Miramar Mayor Wayne Messam
KNOWN FOR: The child of Jamaican immigrants, Messam is a first-generation American who holds progressive views on immigration, guns and the environment. He was part of a group that sued the state of Florida in 2018 over a law that restricted his ability to create municipal gun regulations after he wanted a new amphitheater in his city to be a "gun-free venue."
Former Rep. Beto O'Rourke
KNOWN FOR: O'Rourke, a rising star in the Democratic Party, ran unsuccessfully for a Senate seat in 2018 while serving his third term in the House. With roots in El Paso, O'Rourke gained national attention during his Senate race when a video of him answering a question about NFL players kneeling during the National Anthem went viral. He made an off-the-cuff riff about the civil rights movement as he defended players for making their case "nonviolently, peacefully, while the eyes of this country are watching."
Sen. Bernie Sanders
KNOWN FOR: Sanders' democratic socialist platform gained significant traction during the 2016 primaries, when the independent senator who caucuses with Democrats ran against Hillary Clinton. His policy agenda includes various progressive proposals, many of which have been embraced by the Democratic Party, like expanding health care, broadening the social safety net and making higher education free.
Former Rep. Joe Sestak
KNOWN FOR: Sestak ascended to become a 3-star admiral in the US Navy during a 31-year military career prior to his election to the House of Representatives in 2006. He represented Pennsylvania's 7th District until mounting a pair of ultimately unsuccessful campaigns for the Senate in 2010 and 2016, respectively.
Billionaire Tom Steyer
KNOWN FOR: Steyer, whose net worth reached $1.6 billion this year according to Forbes, has operated as a funding force in Democratic politics in recent years, bankrolling candidates and organizations that promote liberal causes, including the impeachment of Trump. The 2018 House races marked the third consecutive election cycle in which Steyer spent more than $100 million supporting Democratic candidates.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren
KNOWN FOR: Warren was appointed as assistant to President Barack Obama and special adviser to the Treasury secretary in order to launch the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. She was also appointed to a congressional oversight panel overseeing the $700 billion Trouble Assets Relief Program that was passed in response to the 2008 financial crisis.
Spiritual author Marianne Williamson
KNOWN FOR: Williamson is best known for being a spiritual counselor to Oprah Winfrey and has written several best-selling books, including her debut "A Return to Love." She is calling for "a moral and spiritual awakening in the country" with her campaign.
Businessman Andrew Yang
STATE: New York
KNOWN FOR: Yang is an entrepreneur who launched Venture for America, a fellowship program that aims to connect recent grads with startups. He wants to give all Americans a universal basic income of $1,000 per month to address economic inequality.
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio
STATE: New York (dropped out September 20, 2019)
KNOWN FOR: The two-term New York mayor has enjoyed success on several largely progressive issues such as universal pre-K, raising the minimum wage and a low murder rate during his tenure. But he failed to resonate in the polls and was criticized for neglecting his duties as mayor to run for president, most notably during a brief blackout in Manhattan in July which happened when he was campaigning in Iowa.
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand
STATE: New York (dropped out August 28, 2019)
KNOWN FOR: Gillibrand, who centered her campaign on women's equality, ended her White House bid in late August as she was on the cusp of failing to qualify for the third Democratic primary debate. Her campaign saw her embrace increasingly progressive stances on immigration and gun control that ran counter to positions she had held when running for the House. Despite Gillibrand's high profile position, she failed to break out from the crowded primary field, with her campaign polling under 1% nationally when she exited the race.
Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper
STATE: Colorado (dropped out August 15, 2019)
KNOWN FOR: As the head of Colorado from 2011 to 2019, Hickenlooper helped steer the state through several tragedies, including the 2012 shooting in a movie theater in Aurora that left 12 people dead and catastrophic wildfires and floods in 2013. Hickenlooper, who framed his candidacy around stemming the leftward lurch of the Democratic Party, dropped out in mid-August and launched his Senate campaign.
Gov. Jay Inslee
STATE: Washington (dropped out August 21, 2019)
KNOWN FOR: Inslee, who has held elected office for much of the last three decades, has been an outspoken progressive executive since he became governor in 2013. He has been a vocal opponent of President Donald Trump, including suing the President after he tried to ban immigration from several Muslim-majority countries. Inslee dropped out as it appeared he wouldn't make the stage for the third round of debates. A day after he exited the 2020 race, Inslee announced he would seek a third term as Washington's governor.
Rep. Seth Moulton
STATE: Massachusetts (dropped out August 23, 2019)
KNOWN FOR: Moulton, a Marine veteran and three-term congressman, raised his national profile after trying and failing to prevent House Speaker Nancy Pelosi from reclaiming the speaker's gavel. He later voted for her after Democrats retook the House last year. Moulton's run for president lasted four months and ended in August after he failed to gain traction or make the Democratic debates. He plans to run for reelection to Congress and relaunch a PAC that aims to elect Democrats with service backgrounds.
Rep. Tim Ryan
STATE: Ohio (dropped out October 24, 2019)
KNOWN FOR: Ryan, whose district includes Youngstown, Ohio, entered the presidential race as a longshot candidate with less name recognition than most candidates and a far smaller political network. He dropped out in late October after failing to gain momentum and announced he would run for reelection to the House of Representatives. He has become most known in Democratic circles for his opposition to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi retaining her leadership positions, though he later voted for her when Democrats elected her speaker earlier this year.
Rep. Eric Swalwell
STATE: California (dropped out July 8, 2019)
KNOWN FOR: The Democrat who represents California's 15th Congressional District entered the race as a long-shot candidate in a crowded field. A frequent critic of the Trump administration, Swalwell raised his profile by becoming a staple on cable television. He focused on combating gun violence, and traveled to Iowa in December with Cameron Kasky, who's a survivor of the 2018 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, and a co-founder of March for Our Lives.
Former congressional candidate Richard Ojeda
STATE: West Virginia (dropped out January 25, 2019)
KNOWN FOR: A former Army paratrooper, Ojeda served for 24 years, earning the rank of major and serving in both Iraq and Afghanistan. A 2016 Trump voter, he focused on school finance reform and issues facing the middle class before dropping out of the race in late January.
Decided not to run
Former Georgia House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams (took herself out of consideration on August 13, 2019)
KNOWN FOR: Abrams became a national figure in 2018 during her unsuccessful run for governor of Georgia. Despite publicly mulling a 2020 bid for months -- she told CNN in May "I'll probably jump in myself" if voter suppression isn't a top issue -- Abrams ultimately ruled out a presidential campaign to focus on her national "voter protection" program.
Sen. Sherrod Brown (took himself out of consideration on March 7, 2019)
KNOWN FOR: A liberal populist, Brown won three terms in Ohio, a state that has been trending Republican in recent years. Brown would've offered Democrats a candidate who could reconnect with voters in the Midwest. Before deciding not to run, he had embarked on a "listening tour" that included stops in the four key early voting states in the 2020 primary.
Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg (took himself out of consideration on March 5, 2019)
STATE: New York
KNOWN FOR: Bloomberg hinted at a run for months before deciding against it. He had portrayed himself as a moderate against progressive projects such as Medicare-for-all but with extensive experience and campaign funds to put toward key Democratic issues such as climate change and gun control.
Former Attorney General Eric Holder (took himself out of consideration on March 4, 2019)
STATE: New York
KNOWN FOR: Holder served as President Barack Obama's attorney general until 2015. Holder had told several Democrats -- and "The Late Show" host Stephen Colbert -- that he was "interested" in pursuing the nomination, but ultimately he opted not to launch a campaign.
Former Secretary of State John Kerry (took himself out of consideration on June 10, 2019)
KNOWN FOR: Kerry served on the Cabinet during President Barack Obama's second term. Prior to that, he spent 28 years representing Massachusetts in the Senate, and was the 2004 Democratic presidential nominee. During an interview with Sky News, he ruled out another presidential run, saying he was "delighted" that Biden had gotten into the 2020 race.
Former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (took himself out of consideration on April 17, 2019)
KNOWN FOR: McAuliffe previously served as governor of Virginia and chairman of the Democratic National Committee and has an extensive fundraising network. He opted instead to help coordinate the campaigns of Virginia's local and national Democratic lawmakers "to make sure that we are blue" for 2020.
Sen. Jeff Merkley (took himself out of consideration on March 5, 2019)
KNOWN FOR: Merkley, the junior senator from Oregon, has focused on holding the Trump administration accountable on immigration policy, specifically family separations at the southern border. He opted in March to devote himself to his Senate re-election campaign over the next two years.
UPDATE: This story has been updated to reflect CNN's official tally of the 20 major Democratic candidates running for their party's nomination for president.