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2020 presidential campaign: Quick snapshots of Democratic and Republican candidates

The 2020 general election is still more than a year and a half away — but the field of presidential candidates is plenty crowded. Here's a look at the Democratic and Republican candidates who have announced so far.

With Newsday and The Associated Press

Joe Biden

Then-Vice President Joe Biden in the Oval Office
Photo Credit: AFP / Getty Images / Brendan Smialowski

STATUS: The former vice president and longtime senator from Delaware splashed into the 2020 race on April 25.

THE CANDIDATE: An instant front-runner, Biden is making his third attempt at the presidency — 32 years after the first. That highlights one of his vulnerabilities, his age, which is 76. Another has been accusations from women who say Biden intruded on their personal space. Among his strengths, he is the biggest name in the Democratic contest, popular and familiar. The then-vice president is seen here waiting for a meeting with President Barack Obama and the Pakistani prime minister in the Oval Office of the White House on Oct. 22, 2015.

The Scranton native is paying special attention to his home state, which he could take back from Trump in a general election faceoff. Though he represented Delaware, Biden was often referred to as Pennsylvania's third senator. His long-expected entry in this race rounds out the Democratic field, for now, at 20.

QUOTE: "We are in the battle for the soul of this nation," Biden said in his rollout video. "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."

Cory Booker

Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) speaks at his "Conversation
Photo Credit: Getty Images / Ethan Miller

STATUS: The New Jersey senator joined the Democratic field Feb. 1.

THE CANDIDATE: Booker jumped in the race with an optimistic call for Americans to unite in a time of bitter polarization, urging a return to a "common sense of purpose." Booker, 49, was Newark's mayor when he was first elected to the Senate in 2013, winning a full term the next year. His announcement video highlighted his ties to the "low-income, inner city community" Booker says he led to a comeback. As a presidential candidate Booker acknowledged "I got a boo" — later confirmed to be Rosario Dawson.

QUOTE: "Love ain't easy," Booker said. He added: "The people I admire are the people that lead by calling out the best of who we are and not the worst. So, I'm running for president because I believe in us. I believe in these values."

Julian Castro

Democratic presidential candidate Julian Castro speaks to students
Photo Credit: Getty Images / Mario Tama

STATUS: The former Obama Cabinet secretary from San Antonio launched his campaign in his hometown Jan. 12.

THE CANDIDATE: Castro put immigration and the government shutdown over President Donald Trump's proposed border wall front and center during his announcement, mocking the president for claiming the U.S. faces an "invasion." Castro, the grandson of a Mexican immigrant, said the real crisis facing the nation is one of leadership — and that he's running "because it's time for new leadership, because it's time for new energy and it's time for a new commitment to make sure that the opportunities that I've had are available to every American." The 44-year-old was a secretary of housing and urban development in the Obama administration and mayor of San Antonio for five years. He has a twin brother, Joaquin, who's in the House.

QUOTE: "There are serious issues that need to be addressed in our broken immigration system, but seeking asylum is a legal right. And the cruel policies of this administration are doing real and lasting harm."

Pete Buttigieg

Mayor Pete Buttigieg, a 2020 Democratic candidate president,
Photo Credit: EPA / CJ Gunther

STATUS: The mayor of South Bend, Indiana, got in the race Jan. 23. He made things official with a rally in his hometown April 14.

THE CANDIDATE: He's 37, the two-term mayor of a small city in Indiana and a military veteran. Meet Pete Buttigieg, who got a boost from his performance in a CNN town hall. He would be the country's first openly gay president and its first millennial one. Buttigieg once liked a Norwegian author so much that he learned Norwegian so he could translate another of his works, according to The New Yorker. Buttigieg, who unsuccessfully ran for Democratic National Committee chairman in 2017, has a hard-to-pronounce name (his Twitter profile helpfully says it's BOOT-edge-edge) and usually goes by "Mayor Pete."

QUOTE: "The forces of change in our country today are tectonic," Buttigieg said. "Forces that help to explain what made this current presidency even possible. That's why, this time, it's not just about winning an election — it's about winning an era."

John Delaney

Former Maryland congressman John Delaney speaks to guests
Photo Credit: Getty Images / Scott Olson

STATUS: The Maryland Democrat began running for president back in 2017, when he was still in the House.

THE CANDIDATE: "Partisanship is really destroying our country," the political moderate said on July 28, 2017, when he announced his candidacy. A former banking entrepreneur, Delaney was one of the wealthiest members of the House. He left Congress after three terms and is counting on a strong Iowa finish to vault him into contention. The 56-year-old New Jersey native says on his website that he's seen Bruce Springsteen in concert more than 30 times.

QUOTE: “I kind of view myself as sort of a long-distance swimmer, and I view this as a long race, and so, part of the challenge, obviously, in running for president, is to build the kind of name ID you need, so that you're relevant when the race really starts," he said in July 2017.

Tulsi Gabbard

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, a Democrat from Hawaii and
Photo Credit: Bloomberg / Daniel Acker

STATUS: The representative from Hawaii formally launched her campaign Jan. 24.

THE CANDIDATE: She's 38, a four-term House member from Hawaii and a military veteran. Meet Tulsi Gabbard. She was first elected to office at just 21 (Hawaii State Legislature), and became the first Hindu elected to Congress in 2012. Gabbard, who served in Iraq and Kuwait with the Hawaii National Guard, has been outspoken about the United States' military conflicts in the Middle East. She's been criticized for meeting with Syrian President Bashar Assad in 2017 and for her past advocacy against same-sex marriage (later apologizing for the latter). She was an early, vocal supporter of Sen. Bernie Sanders last time around. And there's this: Gabbard surfs.

QUOTE: All Americans have paid the price for the country’s "interventionist, regime-change wars" in Iraq, Libya and Syria, Gabbard said in her announcement video: "We have spent trillions of your taxpayer dollars to pay for these wars, taking those dollars away from our communities and our people who need them right here at home."

Kirsten Gillibrand

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), a 2020 Democratic presidential
Photo Credit: Hans Pennink

STATUS: The New York senator formally entered the race March 17, months after expressing her intentions on "The Late Show With Stephen Colbert."

THE CANDIDATE: Gillibrand's campaign has not achieved liftoff yet. She ranks 12th in the Democratic field in polls conducted between April 5-21, getting an average of just 0.8 percent support, according to RealClearPolitics. "Americans need a president who will restore the moral fabric of this country and bring back the integrity, compassion and leadership in the world that we’ve lost," her website says, adding that she "will stand up for what's right and repair what's been broken." Gillibrand, 52, easily won re-election to the Senate last fall. She raised just under $3 million in the first quarter and has $10.2 million on hand to spend on the presidential race, according to her latest available campaign finance data.

QUOTE: "Brave doesn't pit people against one another. Brave doesn't put money over lives. Brave doesn't spread hate, cloud truth, build a wall. That's what fear does," Gillibrand said as she pitched herself as a "brave, bold" leader in a video titled "Brave Wins" that took aim at Trump.

Kamala Harris

Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) speaks during a town
Photo Credit: Getty Images / Ethan Miller

STATUS: The California senator officially joined the race on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

THE CANDIDATE: A former prosecutor and California attorney general, Harris has risen quickly in Washington since becoming a senator two years ago. At her campaign kickoff in Oakland on Jan. 27, Harris, 54, presented herself as the leader who can best unite a country at an "inflection point." Harris' parents immigrated to the United States from Jamaica and India – so she could become the first African-American woman and first person of Asian descent to be president. As a child in Oakland, her Senate website notes, Harris "had a stroller-eye view of the Civil Rights movement."

QUOTE: "We are here because the American dream and our American democracy are under attack and on the line like never before."

John Hickenlooper

John Hickenlooper, former governor of Colorado, speaks March
Photo Credit: Bloomberg / Aaron M. Sprecher

STATUS: The former Colorado governor entered the race March 4.

THE CANDIDATE: He's portrayed himself as a can-do uniter who has accomplished liberal goals in a politically divided state, and a pragmatist who can also take on Trump. After the 2012 Aurora movie theater massacre, Hickenlooper made universal background checks the law in Colorado. He's also a quirky politician who, in a 2010 ad, walked into a shower to "scrub off" negative attacks. Hickenlooper, 67, was a geologist for a petroleum company before he was laid off in the 1980s, then made his way to politics via a Denver brewpub he opened and turned into a mini-empire of restaurants and bars. He was elected mayor in 2003 and governor in 2010. The last brewer to become a governor before Hickenlooper? Samuel Adams, in 1794.

QUOTE: "I'm running for president because we need dreamers in Washington, but we also need to get things done," he said in his announcement video. "I've proven again and again I can bring people together to produce the progressive change Washington has failed to deliver."

Jay Inslee

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee speaks on March 5,
Photo Credit: AP / Charlie Neibergall

STATUS: Washington's governor joined the Democratic race on March 1.

THE CANDIDATE: Inslee's campaign is focused on combating climate change — an emphasis he says sets him apart. He calls it Americans' "most urgent problem," and says defeating climate change "is something I've been very passionate about for decades." Inslee, 68, frames climate action as an economic opportunity, not just a moral imperative, and said he intends to "power our economy with 100 percent clean energy." The former congressman has not endorsed the Green New Deal, though he was "thrilled" that it was brought forward. His campaign logo features a green and blue arc of Earth. Inslee has governed his state as an unabashed liberal, but his climate track record there has been mixed, with a carbon tax failing twice at the ballot box.

QUOTE: "It is our moment to solve America's most daunting challenge and make it the first, foremost and paramount duty of the United States ... to defeat climate change."

Amy Klobuchar

Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., speaks
Photo Credit: AP / The Tennessean / Shelley Mays

STATUS: The Minnesota senator launched her race in the snow in Minneapolis Feb. 10.

THE CANDIDATE: The third-term senator has amassed an impressive electoral record, with broad appeal across her state leading to a 24-point victory in her last Senate campaign. At her presidential campaign kickoff, she positioned herself as the most prominent Midwestern candidate. Klobuchar, 58, a former prosecutor, has a reputation as a straight-shooting pragmatist willing to work with Republicans, making her one of the Senate's most productive legislators. She has been scrutinized for being a tough boss, with allegations that she's mistreated members of her staff.

QUOTE: "As your president, I will look you in the eye. I will tell you what I think. I will focus on getting things done. That's what I've done my whole life. And no matter what, I'll lead from the heart."

Wayne Messam

Mayor Wayne Messam of Miramar, Florida is seen
Photo Credit: AP / Brynn Anderson

STATUS: The mayor of Miramar, Florida, threw his hat in the ring March 28.

THE CANDIDATE: He's probably the least known candidate in the oversized Democratic field — mayor of a piece of South Florida's suburban sprawl. But Messam thinks that he, too, can be president. The 44-year-old former Florida State football star, who owns a construction company, believes that his city has much that the rest of the country would like to have: environmentally friendly development, high-end manufacturing and major corporate operations. (Low-cost Spirit Airlines' headquarters are there.) Messam's campaign is focusing on South Carolina to create momentum elsewhere. Miramar, with 140,000 residents, is actually bigger than South Bend, Indiana, the city of the other mayor in the race, Buttigieg.

QUOTE: "When people get elected into Washington with no local government experience, they are so high in the stratosphere that they have no concept, no consciousness of some of the local challenges that cities and communities face. And America is basically a network of cities and communities."

Seth Moulton

Massachusetts Rep. Seth Moulton, a 2020 Democratic candidate
Photo Credit: EPA / CJ Gunther

STATUS: The Massachusetts congressman added his name to the huge Democratic field April 22.

THE CANDIDATE: The 40-year-old military veteran got in the race via ABC's "Good Morning America," saying he's a patriot who's "running to take on the most divisive president in American history to bring this country back together." The former Marine has risen to prominence in part by opposing Democratic House leader Nancy Pelosi. He's been a frequent critic of Trump, including when the 45th president claimed to be the target of the "single greatest witch hunt of a politician in American history." Moulton responded: "As the Representative of Salem, MA, I can confirm that this is false." He's the third Massachusetts politician in the 2020 race, after Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren and a former Republican governor, William Weld.

QUOTE: "16 years ago today, leaders in Washington sent me and my friends to fight in a war based on lies. It's still going on today," Moulton tweeted in March. "It's time for the generation that fought in Iraq to take over for the generation that sent us there."

Beto O'Rourke

Former Democratic Texas congressman Beto O'Rourke enjoys a
Photo Credit: AP / Kathy Willens

STATUS: The former Texas congressman got in the race March 14.

THE CANDIDATE: The rising Democratic star joined the field after a meandering road trip that he blogged about on Medium. O'Rourke, 46, captivated Democrats in his Texas bid to unseat Sen. Ted Cruz in 2018 — during which he visited all 254 counties in the massive state — losing by 3 percentage points. He brings social media and fundraising prowess and bipartisan optimism, but what is arguably a thin record of accomplishments from his three terms in the House. 

QUOTE: "I could care less about your party persuasion, your religion, anything other than the fact that, right now, we are all Americans."

Tim Ryan

Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) speaks at the Heartland
Photo Credit: AP / Nati Harnik

STATUS: The Ohio congressman announced his candidacy April 4 on "The View."

THE CANDIDATE: He's from the heartland — and says he can bridge Democrats' progressive and working-class wings to become president. But first Ryan will need to get on the debate stage and play some catchup to the rest of the field. Ryan, 45, who has been in the House since 2003, tried to oust Rep. Nancy Pelosi as the House Democratic leader in 2016. His blue-collar district swung strongly to Trump when he defeated Hillary Clinton.

QUOTE: "I'm a progressive who knows how to talk to working class people, and I know how to get elected in working class districts, because, at the end of the day, the progressive agenda is what's best for working families," Ryan said on "The View," resisting being labeled a political centrist.

Bernie Sanders

Sen. Bernie Sanders, an independent from Vermont and
Photo Credit: Bloomberg / Daniel Acker

STATUS: The independent Vermont senator, who was born in Brooklyn, announced his second presidential campaign Feb. 19.

THE CANDIDATE: Many of the policy ideas from the 77-year-old democratic socialist (most notably Medicare for All) have been embraced by mainstream Democrats since his last presidential run. But can Sanders recapture the fervor that propelled him surprisingly far in 2016? And can he beat the other 2020 candidates and become the oldest U.S. president ever? President Donald Trump opined that Sanders "missed his time."

QUOTE: "I came from a family who knew all too well the frightening power employers can have over everyday workers," Sanders said at his kickoff rally at Brooklyn College on March 2. He's seen at a Chicago rally the next evening.

Eric Swalwell

Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) speaks at a Politics
Photo Credit: AP / Elise Amendola

STATUS: The California congressman became the 18th Democrat in the race on April 8.

THE CANDIDATE: Swalwell, like Gillibrand, chose the Stephen Colbert route for his announcement. He's at the younger end of the field — 38 — and in his fourth term in the House, representing much of the East Bay. "I'm running for president of the United States," Swalwell told the talk show comedian, confirming that it was official. "Boy, did it feel good to say that!" He's originally from Iowa, and told Colbert that he's the first in his family to go to college. His lead issue is gun reform.

QUOTE: "I see a country in quicksand, unable to solve problems and threats from abroad, unable to make life better for people here at home. Nothing gets done."

Elizabeth Warren

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), announces her official bid
Photo Credit: Getty Images / Scott Eisen

STATUS: The Massachusetts senator effectively kicked off the 2020 presidential race on the last day of 2018, when she announced her exploratory committee. She officially started her campaign Feb. 9.

THE CANDIDATE: The economic populist, who seeks to build "an America that works for everyone," is one of the biggest names in the Democratic Party. Warren helped create the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (though Republicans blocked her from leading it), won her Senate seat in 2012 and rolled to a re-election win in 2018. Now Warren, 69, wants to break up "Big Tech." She's widely seen as mishandling her claim of having Native American heritage, including a DNA test she wound up taking and releasing. 

QUOTE from Twitter: "If there were ever a moment in history that proved we need more women in leadership roles, it's now. Women understand why it matters to fight for the underdog. And we're not afraid of a fight — not even the hard ones."

Marianne Williamson

Marianne Williamson, a Democrat from Iowa, makes a
Photo Credit: AP / The Brattleboro Reformer / Kristopher Radder

STATUS: The self-help guru formally announced her candidacy in a speech in Los Angeles Jan. 28.

THE CANDIDATE: The author and activist has 2.6 million Twitter followers and a strong, bracing voice on the platform. Instead of harnessing fear for political purposes, "let us now harness the power of love," Williamson writes on her website. "It is time to let go of an old and tired political conversation and forge a new, whole-person, heart-centered political dynamic." Williamson, 66, is the only Democratic candidate who has called for reparations for African-Americans in the traditional sense, through direct compensation. She also supports Andrew Yang's Universal Basic Income plan, saying she believes "Automation will cause a tsunami of job destruction in the US over the next 10 to 15 years." She unsuccessfully ran for Congress in L.A. in 2014.

QUOTE from Twitter: "America has forgotten its mission statement. We've lost sight of our core reason for being, the highest aspirations of democracy & deep human values that matter most. That's the causal level of our dysfunction & someone who knows how to address that is the most qualified to lead."

Andrew Yang

Democratic U.S. presidential hopeful Andrew Yang hosts a
Photo Credit: Getty Images / Alex Wong

STATUS: The New York City businessman says he launched his campaign in a New York Times article in early 2018.

THE CANDIDATE: Andrew Yang's campaign is motivated by fear — of the country's future, he says. New technologies will eliminate millions more American jobs in the next 5-10 years, and "an unprecedented change" is needed, Yang says on his website. He's calling for Universal Basic Income for all adults, who would receive "$1,000 a month, no strings attached, paid for by a new tax on the companies benefiting most from automation." Yang, a 44-year-old entrepreneur who founded Venture for America, has already garnered more than 65,000 donors, the threshold to appear in one of the initial Democratic debates in June, The Washington Post reported.

QUOTE: "A crisis is underway — we have to work together to stop it, or risk losing the heart of our country. The stakes have never been higher."

Donald Trump

President Donald Trump speaks during a briefing on
Photo Credit: AP / Evan Vucci

STATUS: The 45th president has basically been running for re-election since the day he took office in January 2017. That's when he filed paperwork with the Federal Election Commission.

THE CANDIDATE: Trump has been a divisive president, with low approval ratings, highly polarized debates over topics like immigration, foreign policy and his personal conduct, and a series of investigations hanging over his head. He is the only president who's never reached 50 percent in Gallup polling. But as a candidate Trump, 72, has many strengths, including the power of incumbency, an economy with low unemployment and solid growth and high popularity within the Republican Party. Republicans in Congress have rarely broken with Trump, with the 59-41 Senate defeat of his national emergency declaration a notable exception. He overturned that with the first veto of his presidency.

QUOTE from Twitter on Jan. 26: "Thank you to the Republican National Committee, (the RNC), who voted UNANIMOUSLY yesterday to support me in the upcoming 2020 Election. Considering that we have done more than any Administration in the first two years, this should be easy. More great things now in the works!"

William Weld

Former Massachusetts Gov. William Weld, a 2020 Republican
Photo Credit: AP / Charles Krupa

STATUS: The former Massachusetts governor and Smithtown native said Feb. 15 that he created an exploratory committee — giving President Trump a Republican challenger in 2020. Weld officially announced his candidacy exactly two months later in an interview with CNN's Jake Tapper.

THE CANDIDATE: While Weld is making a long-shot bid against a president who commands deep loyalty among Republicans, his nascent campaign nevertheless represents the first notable primary challenge to a sitting president since 1992. Weld, a fiscal conservative and social liberal, was Libertarian Gary Johnson's running mate in the 2016 campaign. The 73-year-old has not won an election since he was re-elected as Massachusetts' governor in 1994. He left office in 1997 in a failed bid to become ambassador to Mexico under President Bill Clinton.

QUOTE: "We have a president whose priorities are skewed towards promotion of himself rather than for the good of the country," Weld said. "He may have great energy and considerable raw talent but he does not use that in ways that promote democracy, truth, justice and equal opportunity for all. To compound matters, our president is simply too unstable to carry out the duties of the highest executive office in the land."

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