10 Democrats to watch in 2020

Scott Eisen/Getty ImagesBernie Sanders
  • A large group of Democratic potentials are quietly fundraising and testing the waters for potential 2020 presidential bids.
  • The possible contenders include everyone from progressive populists like Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, to establishment centrists.

While the unofficial start of the 2020 presidential election is still a year away, a large group of Democratic potentials are quietly fundraising and testing the waters for potential bids.

Progressive populists like Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, more centrist lawmakers including Sens. Kamala Harris and Kirsten Gillibrand, and even former Vice President Joe Biden are expected to jump into the race.

Here are 10 potential Democratic contenders for president in 2020:


Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders

The Vermont senator is the most popular politician in America, according to recent polling, and has kept himself busy promoting his political group, Our Revolution, and travelling the country discussing everything from his Medicare-for-all proposal to free college.

Between his progressive views, millions of supporters in the 2016 primary, and high approval ratings, Sanders has a real chance of becoming the next Democratic nominee – if he wants to run again.

Sanders will be 78 years old in 2020, which would make him the oldest person – by eight years – ever elected to the presidency.


Former Vice President Joe Biden

Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

Touring the country this month to promote his new book about the loss of his 46-year-old son, Beau, to brain cancer in 2015, Biden refused to rule out a 2020 run.

A former senator from Delaware who ran for president in 1987 and 2007, Biden has spoken openly about regretting his decision not to run in 2016 and has been critical of Hillary Clinton’s campaign in the aftermath of her loss.

While popular among white working class voters, Biden will be 77 in 2020 and might be too closely tied to the party establishment to win key support from younger voters and the more progressive wing of the party.


New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand

The New York senator, who sits in Hillary Clinton’s former seat, has moved significantly to the left on a host of issues, from gun control to healthcare, perhaps in preparation for a presidential bid.

Gillibrand made headlines when she argued that former President Bill Clinton should have resigned over his consensual sexual affair with White House intern Monica Lewinsky, and she recently introduced legislation that would reform the Senate’s sexual harassment policies.

But the senator’s ties to Wall Street and the Clintons as well as her history of centrism might hurt a potential bid.


Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren

Scott Eisen/Getty Images

The former law professor would likely be the Democratic frontrunner should she decide to launch a 2020 bid. She’s in line with Sanders on most policy issues, but also has healthy relationships with the party establishment.

While it’s unclear whether Warren, who will be 71 in 2020, is serious about a bid, she has a strong online fundraising operation and is continuing to solicit donations that exceed what she needs for her 2018 reelection campaign.


California Sen. Kamala Harris

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The freshman California senator, the second black woman to be elected to the body, has gained notoriety in recent months as a tough opponent of the Trump administration and has embraced the party’s leftward shift on issues like single-payer healthcare. And at 52, Harris would be a younger option.

While her record is short in the Senate – giving her opponents less to criticise – her failure to prosecute a major bank for foreclosure violations during her time as California attorney general may stain her credibility among more progressive Democrats.


Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown

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The swing-state senator was a top contender to become Hillary Clinton’s 2016 running mate and many Democrats think he could effectively challenge President Donald Trump’s support in the Rust Belt and among white working class voters.

He’s a strong populist option if Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren don’t run.


New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker

CSPAN

The New Jersey senator has seemingly long groomed himself for a presidential run, and at 48 years old he represents a younger generation of party leaders.

Booker has strong support on Wall Street, in Silicon Valley, and among the party establishment. But he’ll have to overcome a critical left, which paints him as “an avatar of the wealthy elite, a camera hog, and a political cipher.

His bold testimony against Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ nomination and his frequent appearances in support of social-justice issues could help in that effort.


Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe

Getty Images/Win McNamee

The governor, who will hand the office over to newly-elected Democrat Ralph Northam, early next year, is a longtime Clinton ally with both the platform and the connections to make a strong 2020 bid.

McAuliffe’s record in Virginia is remarkably progressive – he succeeded in passing stricter gun regulations and restoring voting rights to over 150,000 felons – and he emerged on the national stage as a strong moral voice following the Charlottesville white supremacists protests in August. But his deep ties to the Clintons might prove damaging.


Connecticut Sen. Chris Murphy

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While Murphy says he’s not interested in running for president, his strong positions on progressive policy issues, including gun control and healthcare, and his relative youth have made him a much talked-about potential candidate since Trump’s election.

And the 44-year-old Connecticut senator isn’t quite a millennial, but he’s working hard to connect with the younger generation with his robust Twitter presence.


New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo

Cuomo will likely win reelection as New York’s governor in 2018 and he widely expected to launch a bid for president after that.

The governor has been criticised for his fiscal conservatism and his frequent politicking, but his centrist positions could help him win over Republicans disillusioned with Trump.

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