Who’s going to challenge Trump in 2020? Here are 17 super-early contenders

All Photos SenateDemocrats/Flickr (CC-BY)

Democrats are starting to wonder who might be able to beat Donald Trump.

With the 2018 midterms in the rearview mirror, the speculation about the 2020 presidential election will soon become concrete evidence about which Democrats will decide to run against President Donald Trump.

Trump already has his eyes on 2020. In February he named Brad Parscale, the head of the president’s 2016 campaign digital operation, as his campaign manager. But the picture is less clear for the Democrats, and there is speculation a large field of contenders may throw their hats into the ring to take on Trump in the next presidential election.

And on the last day of 2018, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) announced she was forming an exploratory committee for a 2020 run.

As the campaign inches closer, every move and speech (particularly among the bigger names in the party) is analyzed and deconstructed as possible hints that a presidential run could be launched.

There are a number of things that can happen between now and the 2020 election, but here are several names that could be gearing up for what is sure to be a brutal campaign against Trump leading into the 2020 election.

2020 presidential election: Trump challengers and Democratic Nominee Odds 2020

1) Sen. Bernie Sanders

2020 presidential election: Bernie Sanders Photo via Phil Roeder/Flickr (CC-BY)

It shouldn’t be a shock that Sen. Bernie Sanders’ name comes up a lot in 2020 election talk. His surprising showing in the 2016 Democratic primary rocketed Sanders into the national consciousness, and he is arguably the most popular politician currently serving in office.

However, there are some drawbacks. While his impressive ability to lure younger voters to his campaign is something any person vying for the Democratic 2020 nod is sure to try to replicate, there will always be the question of whether his policy agenda would actually work without Congress firmly on his side. (Of course, there’s always that pesky S-word.)

Some Democrats may even hold a grudge against Sanders, who is technically not part of the party, for his grueling primary against Hillary Clinton in 2016. There have been arguments that Sanders’ attacks against Clinton may have helped Trump win the election and sway some voters views on her ahead of the election.

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However, there is no denying that if he decided to run, he’d have a large number of supporters and many people willing to donate to his campaign from the start.

In early 2018, reports suggested that Sanders has begun talking to advisers about a 2020 election campaign. The discussions focused on other possible opponents in the 2020 primaries and how Sanders could defeat them. In mid-September rumors continued to swirl, with the Hill reporting that those close to Sanders expect him to make another bid for the White House.

Politico reported in June that Sanders was one of several possible 2020 Democrats who have met with former President Barack Obama in recent months.

Sanders and Obama talked about the future of the Democratic party and what it should focus on moving forward, according to the report.

As the New York Times pointed out in November, Sanders also is not the only hard-left progressive candidate in the public sphere anymore, which could also dent his chances of making the same impact he did during the 2016 election.

IS BERNIE SANDERS RUNNING IN 2020?: Almost certainly.

2) Sen. Elizabeth Warren

2020 presidential election: Elizabeth Warren Photo via Edward Kimme/Flickr (CC-BY-SA)

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) became the first major name to throw their hat into the 2020 Democratic presidential ring in late December when she announced she had formed a presidential exploratory committee.

In a video, Warren focused on middle-class economics and her past as part of her announcement.

“America’s middle class is under attack,” she says. “How did we get here? Billionaires and big corporations decided they wanted more of the pie, and they enlisted politicians to cut them a fatter slice.”

She adds:

“Our government is supposed to work for all of us, but instead it has become a tool for the wealthy and well-connected. The whole scam is propped up by an echo chamber of fear and hate, designed to distract and divide us.”

Warren, like Sanders, would tap into the growing number of Democrats hoping for a more progressive candidate to challenge Trump’s hard-right base.

Warren is also an outspoken critic of Trump, helping raise her profile among disenfranchised Democrats. She saw her profile skyrocket when Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) silenced her as she was criticizing former Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

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In particular, Warren could tap into the populist fervor that has overtaken the American electorate. Her tough stance on Wall Street and championing projects like the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau would likely play well with voters on the left who are upset with the economy. That said, Republicans already think they have a game plan to crush any possible 2020 hopes Warren may have.

The progressive platform that Warren has championed is similar to Sanders, which could create a bit of a complication in a Democratic primary.

The Hill reported in mid-September that the two senators know they are similar, with some experts believing they are both watching each other to see what could come next.

“Warren and Sanders watch each other as much as the Yankees and Red Sox check up on each other in the American League East,” Brad Bannon, a Democratic strategist, told the news outlet.

Despite this, at least one poll by Politico and Morning Consult found that Warren would beat Trump in a head-to-head matchup, with voters picking her 34 percent to 30 percent.

Despite her overtures about not running, when Warren released the results of a DNA test in October that showed she had Native American ancestry, it was seen as a direct rebuke to Trump, who has often referred to her mockingly about her heritage claims.

The test was seen by some people as a way to rebuff Trump’s attacks on her ancestry ahead of any potential White House matchup. However, it did lead to attacks from several Republicans.

With a consistently liberal voting record, Warren would please large swaths of the Democrats’ progressive wing of the party—and maybe Republicans, too, but for very different reasons.

IS WARREN RUNNING IN 2020?: Yes.

3) Former Vice President Joe Biden

2020 presidential election: Joe Biden Photo via Marc Nozell/Flickr (CC-BY)

Many Democrats were hoping Joe Biden would decide to run in 2016. But he decided not to, following the death of his son, Beau. Biden has not ruled out a 2020 bid and announced that a cross-country speaking tour to promote his book—sparking speculation of a 2020 run once more.

Biden would obviously have to tackle questions about decisions made by former President Barack Obama’s administration, but that hasn’t hurt his polling numbers. There are also questions about his conduct with women. However, many Democrats appear to have a very favorable view of the former vice president and Delaware senator.

A poll by Public Policy Polling found that Biden would beat Trump in a hypothetical 2020 match-up by a 54-to-41 percent margin.

A recent poll by Public Policy Polling found that Biden would beat Trump in a hypothetical 2020 match-up by a 54-to-41 percent margin.

Biden continued to fan the flames of a possible 2020 run in November when he said he wasn’t “closing the door” on seeking the Democratic nomination during an interview on The Today Show.

“No, no, I’m not closing the door,” Biden said. “I’ve been around too long. I mean, I’m a great respecter of fate. But who knows what the situation is going to be a year and a half from now.”

More recently, Biden told MSNBC in April that he was “hoping that some other folks step up” into the 2020 Democrats field, but didn’t close the door on running, saying that he would decide by the end of 2018, according to the Washington Post.

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The questions swirling around the former vice president’s future aspirations also cropped up as he began campaigning amid the 2018 midterm elections.

A Politico report in March shed light on possible plans Biden’s team may have for announcing his 2020 candidacy. Some of the scenarios included the former vice president announcing his candidacy early, skipping the first votes in Iowa and New Hampshire, or possibly running with the promise of a one-term presidency.

In early September Biden also launched an Instagram account, sparking speculation he may have his eye on a White House run. He also adopted a dog in mid-November 2018, which had the internet buzzing about 2020.

Around the same time as his Instagram launch, CBS News reported that Biden has set an artificial deadline of January 2019 to decide whether or not to run. Advisers told the news outlet the former vice president believes he would be able to defeat Trump in a hypothetical election.

If Biden is planning on running, he’s certainly dusted off his ability to attack opponents–something he’d have to do a lot of in a matchup against Trump.

In early 2018 the two men made headlines after Biden said he would “beat the hell” out of Trump because of his comments in the past about women. Trump, predictably, responded on Twitter by saying the former vice president would “go down fast and hard, crying all the way.”

Biden entering the race could impact who else decides to join the fray.

“He’ll have competition, obviously. But that field’s going to get narrow if Joe Biden’s in it,” New Hampshire state Sen. Lou D’Allesandro told NBC News in early June.

IS JOE BIDEN RUNNING IN 2020?: Probably.

4) Sen. Kamala Harris

2020 presidential election: Kamala Harris Photo via Mobilus In Mobili/Flickr (CC-BY-SA)

Seen by many as a rising star in the Democratic Party, Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) is reportedly expected to announce a presidential run in late January.

KCBS Radio reported in early January that the California senator is expected to announce her candidacy around Martin Luther King Jr. Day at a rally in Oakland, Calif.

Harris champions liberal causes such as criminal justice reform and marriage equality, which would please a large portion of the Democratic base.

Her national profile was lifted earlier last year when she grilled former Attorney General Jeff Sessions during a hearing before the Senate Intelligence Committee amid the ongoing Russia probe. Harris also gained attention for her questioning of CIA Director Gina Haspel and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

More recently, Harris’s intense questioning of Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh also drew attention from liberals.

Specifically, Harris asked Kavanaugh if he knew of “any laws” that allowed the government to “make decisions about the male body,” to which the then-nominee responded: “I’m not thinking of any now, senator.”

She also asked Kavanaugh about net neutrality, an issue that is important to many Americans.

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In April, Harris drew ire from conservatives when she laughed at a joke on the Ellen Degeneres Show where the host asked her who she would prefer to be stuck in an elevator with: Trump, Vice President Mike Pence or Sessions.

In response, Harris laughed and jokingly said: “Does one of us have to come out alive?”

During the same interview, Harris brushed off questions about a possible 2020 presidential run.

“Right now we are in the early months of 2018, and at this very moment in time, there are people across America who have priorities around their health care, have priorities around can they get through the end of the month and pay the bills, pay off their student loans, can they afford to pay for gas, housing?” she said, adding: “There are so many pressing issues… these are immediate needs and these are the things I’m focused on right now.”

Despite this, there were signs pointing toward a presidential run. In July 2017, there were reports that Harris met with top Clinton donors, and Politico reported in April that she has begun spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on web advertising and digital campaign consulting.

Harris also pledged not to accept donations from corporate political action committees, which could be a sign she would try and emulate Bernie Sanders’ success with small individual donations during the 2016 primary.

Harris has made stops in early-voting states, spurring more speculation about a possible presidential run, and told Politico in October that she will “seriously take a look at” a 2020 bid.

However, Harris is also relatively new to politics, which could dent her. Although that didn’t stop Obama from running—and eventually winning—the presidency, to say nothing of Trump.

IS KAMALA HARRIS RUNNING IN 2020?: Yes.

5) Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand

2020 presidential election: Kirsten Gillibrand Photo via personaldemocracy/Flickr (CC-BY-SA)

Kirsten Gillibrand, a New York senator, took the seat that was vacated by Clinton in 2009 and has moved consistently left in her policy and voting record since taking office.

Like Warren, she has been a constant critic of Trump, even casting more “no” votes against Trump’s cabinet nominees than any other Democrat.

Gillibrand has also been lauded for her commitment to gender equality and is in the spotlight with her strong support of women who have come forward asking for a congressional investigation into Trump’s alleged sexual misconduct. She also was the first senator to call on Sen. Al Franken to resign following his own sexual misconduct allegations.

Gillibrand was targeted by billionaire Democratic contributor George Soros in June, who said she pushed for Franken’s ouster to “improve her chances” in a possible 2020 campaign. The donor’s comments were criticized as being sexist.

Gillibrand was attacked on Twitter by the president in late 2017, who said she would do anything for campaign donations, a reference that many took to have sexual implications.

Gillibrand responded by saying she would not be silenced by the president.

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The New York senator was among several possible 2020 candidates who attended a “We the People” summit in Washington where she blasted Trump for his attacks on immigrants, press freedom and other issues.

During her speech, she touched on several liberal themes including paid family leave, tax laws and a women’s right to decide about her reproductive rights.

In early 2018, Gillibrand was asked by the hosts of The View about a possible 2020 run and the senator replied coyly.

“No. No,” she said, laughing. “I’m running for Senate… and I do hope New Yorkers will allow me to continue to serve. I really value this opportunity to be a voice for them.”

However in early November she told late night host Stephen Colbert that she would give a presidential run “long, hard thought of consideration.”

IS GILLIBRAND RUNNING IN 2020?: Probably.

6) Sen. Cory Booker

2020 presidential election: Cory Booker Photo via TechCrunch/Flickr (CC-BY)

The New Jersey senator has had star-power for many years, even during his time as mayor of Newark (where he carried a woman out of a house fire).

Sen. Cory Booker would likely appease more center-left Democrats and at least be palatable to more progressive voters. While Booker does have ties to Wall Street, he has also been a major critic of Trump and outspoken proponent of criminal justice reform. He also also tackled other progressive causes, such as declassifying marijuana as a scheduled substance on the federal level.

Booker is also a talented public speaker and made a much-lauded speech during the 2016 Democratic National Convention. There were even rumors Clinton was considering him as a potential running mate in 2016 before she ultimately chose Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine.

When asked in mid-March about a possible 2020 run and the message Democrats need to send to voters, Booker seemed to hint at a possible strategy. “I’m saying this to Democrats who will listen to me—we can’t make our elections about being against Trump. They have to be about what we’re for,” Booker told the Atlantic.

In May, Booker was asked on The View about his 2020 aspirations but demurred.

“I’m a contender for the 2018 midterms where I’m going to be fighting for every Democratic candidate,” he said. “This is the most important midterm election of our lifetime… for folks who are looking beyond that… don’t look beyond.”

Similarly, at a University of Chicago event in May, Booker seemed to think someone else would be at the top of the Democratic ticket in 2020.

“In the mosh pit of all the names that are talked about, maybe there is going to be a person where you and I both will say ‘she is the one’ and let’s get involved in supporting them,” he said.

During Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearings, Booker also raised speculation about a White House bid when he grilled the nominee, and released documents from the committee that were deemed “committee confidential.”

Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) also stoked the 2020 speculation when, during an argument about the release of the documents, admonished Booker, saying “running for president is no excuse for violating the rules of the Senate.” However, Booker also met with Obama like other possible 2020 candidates—so he could just be playing coy as the time gets closer for an announcement.

In an interview with NYMag in September, Booker made one his strongest statements yet regarding a 2020 run when he said it would be “irresponsible” not to consider making a run for president.

That was followed by Booker talking with political strategists in Iowa that worked for Clinton and Obama’s presidential campaigns, according to CNBC.

IS CORY BOOKER RUNNING IN 2020?: Looking likely–could be an interesting VP candidate.

7) Rep. Beto O’Rourke

Beto O'Rourke 2020 crockodile/Flickr (CC-BY)

Beto O’Rourke, the man who captured national attention ahead of the 2018 midterms in his bid to unset Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tx.) has drummed up a lot of speculation about a presidential bid despite losing to the incumbent senator earlier this year.

The talk of “Beto 2020” came almost immediately after his loss to Cruz on election night, with some people changing their “Beto for Senate” lawn signs to “Beto for President” signs

There is no question O’Rourke has the ability to raise enormous amounts of cash–something that would be crucial for any 2020 Democratic candidate–and has rocketed in popularity because of his close race against Cruz.

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O’Rourke has downplayed the idea of entering the 2020 fray on numerous occasions, despite getting the endorsement of several celebrities.

There is also the question of whether O’Rourke would be progressive enough for a larger Democratic base. Some of his policies have been described as center-left, which may not sit well with a Democratic primary voting base who could be looking for a progressive hard-left candidate.

Whether or not O’Rourke decides to run, expect him to be on the shortlist for a vice presidential spot on the 2020 Democratic ticket.

IS BETO O’ROURKE RUNNING IN 2020?: Too early to tell.

8) Michael Bloomberg

Is Michael Bloomberg running for president in 2020? David Shankbone/Flickr (CC-BY)

In early-September, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg made waves when he signaled the possibility of seeking the Democratic nomination in 2020.

The New York Times spoke with the billionaire, who has been donating money to causes hoping to elect Democrats to Congress during the 2018 midterms, and pointed out that despite his desire to run he may not find many progressive voters flocking to him due to his views on large banks and his controversial stop-and-frisk policies while mayor of New York City.

Bloomberg explored the idea of running as an independent during the 2016 presidential election, according to reports, and if he were to run this time it would be as a Democrat, he told the Times.

“It’s impossible to conceive that I could run as a Republican—things like choice, so many of the issues, I’m just way away from where the Republican Party is today,” he told the newspaper. “That’s not to say I’m with the Democratic Party on everything, but I don’t see how you could possibly run as a Republican. So if you ran, yeah, you’d have to run as a Democrat.”

IS MIKE BLOOMBERG RUNNING IN 2020?: It looks like it, but he won’t win the nomination.

9) Sen. Amy Klobuchar

2020 presidential election : Amy Klobuchar Photo via Tony Webster/Flickr (CC-BY)

While Sen. Amy Klobuchar doesn’t have the name recognition as some other lawmakers on this list, she certainly has a résumé that can compete. The Minnesota senator has served in Congress since 2007 and has high approval ratings.

Klobuchar is also from the Midwest, an area that Democrats arguably overlooked during the 2016 election and could have swayed the election in favor of Clinton.

The rumors of a possible 2020 bid for Klobuchar were fanned when she traveled to a Democratic fundraiser in Iowa—a frequent stop for politicians ahead of announcing their presidential bid.

More recently Klobuchar was one of a number of Democrats who grilled Kavanaugh–and was the only one to directly reference net neutrality–which probably raised her profile among Democratic voters.

IS AMY KLOBUCHAR RUNNING IN 2020?: Perhaps.

10) Sen. Sherrod Brown

Could Sherrod Brown be a Democratic candidate to face off against Donald Trump in 2020? Photo via John Beagle/Flickr (CC-BY)

Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) was reportedly also considered by Clinton to join her 2016 ticket as a running-mate.

Coming from Ohio, once thought of as a crucial swing state, does play into his favor, as does his progressive background. Brown, who won reelection in a state that has increasingly turned red, could be a roadmap of how Democrats play with Rust Belt states.

As one Cincinnati.com columnist put it:

“Vermont’s Bernie Sanders and Massachusetts’ Elizabeth Warren? Kooky left-wingers. New Jersey’s Cory Booker and California’s Kamala Harris? Talking-points coastal elitists. How’d these types of candidates work out last time? None of them have proven they can connect with rural and small-town Trump voters in Ohio, Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania.”

Brown was a proponent of reenacting the Glass-Steagall Act, which made sure commercial and investment banks could not be linked, and was an advocate for a larger stimulus package during Obama’s first term.

In a November interview with Politico, Brown said he did not feel any pressure to launch himself into the 2020 discussion, but spoke about working-class issues that could resonate with people in states Democrats would need to take back from Trump to win the next presidential election.

Of all the names on the list, Brown could be the darkhorse to watch in the Democratic primaries leading up to 2020.

IS SHERROD BROWN RUNNING IN 2020?: Maybe.

11) New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo

2020 presidential election: Andrew Cuomo Photo via MTA of New York/Flickr (CC-BY)

Gov. Andrew Cuomo‘s recent push to beef up New York’s infrastructure and transportation—not to mention his recent decision to hire 12 staffers who worked for Obama’s White House, the federal government, or a presidential campaign—has put him firmly in the realm of 2020 speculation.

In his annual state-of-the-state address in 2017, Cuomo clearly positioned himself—and the state of New York—as anti-Trump, rejecting the ideas that got Trump elected. In his address, Cuomo touched on the middle class and how progressive policies “created the nation’s middle class in the first place.” He also proposed executive orders to reduce the wage gap for women in New York, as well as criminal justice reform.

In February, Cuomo also ended a speech with union supporters by sending not-so-subtle barbs at Trump.

“We will make America America again!” Cuomo said.

The idea of Cuomo running has crossed the minds of at least some Republicans–with one former Trump adviser telling Politico that a face-off against the New York governor makes him “nervous.”

“Hillary Clinton wouldn’t take the gloves off. There isn’t a counterpunch Andrew Cuomo won’t throw,” Michael Caputo told the news outlet.

However, Cuomo might not have the star-power outside of the Northeast to make a realistic run at the nomination in 2020, and clearly he may not have the liberal chops people in his home state are hoping for. Cuomo was being tested by an insurgent left-leaning primary campaign by Cynthia Nixon ahead of his re-election bid in November.

During a debate with Nixon, Cuomo dismissed the idea of running for president in 2020 saying that he intended to “serve four years as governor of New York.” Despite this, all signs appear to be that he has presidential aspirations in the future.

IS ANDREW CUOMO RUNNING IN 2020?: It’s a possibility.

12) Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper

Could John Hickenlooper be a Democratic candidate to face off against Donald Trump in 2020? Photo via Aranami/Flickr (CC-BY)

Gov. John Hickenlooper is in his second term as governor of Colorado and has become popular in the state that is seen as “purple,” or a mix of Republicans and Democrats.

The governor was reportedly considered by Clinton to be her vice presidential nominee before she ultimately chose Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.).

Hickenlooper ruffled a few feathers earlier this year when reports surfaced that he and Republican John Kasich–a frequent critic of Trump–had explored running on an independent ticket during the 2020 election with Kasich leading the team. However, in an interview with Rolling Stone in April, he downplayed that possibility.

In early 2018, Hickenlooper made a trip to Iowa–the first caucus in presidential primaries—raising some eyebrows about his presidential aspirations. As the Denver Post points out, the governor met with “veteran political players” ahead of the trip.

Speaking with CNN in April, Hickenlooper said he wanted to take some time to explore his options.

“This summer we’ll see how it begins to feel,” he said. “You’d have to get much more polished than what I am now, in terms of what my message would be and what I would bring that’s different than other candidates.”

In early September, ColoradoPolitics.com reported that Hickenlooper created a political action committee called “Giddy Up,” and he told Axios in late August that he was talking with “old friends” about a possible run at the White House.

When asked about the PAC, Hickenlooper said it just meant he was “exploring” the possibility of running, according to 9News.

“It just means that I am exploring it, which I have been doing for the last several months anyway,” he said. “This allows me the ability to have a certain amount of freedom. I can gather more information. I can go around the country. I can support candidates in other states.”

IS JOHN HICKENLOOPER RUNNING IN 2020?: Yes.

13) Eric Holder

2020 election : eric holder North Charleston/Flickr (CC-BY-SA)

Eric Holder, the former attorney general during President Barack Obama’s time in office, has fanned speculation about running in several interviews he’s given in recent months.

Holder, who was the first African American attorney general in United States history, is also the chairman of the National Democratic Redistricting Committee. In March, he told Viceland that he would decide about his 2020 intention by the end of 2018.

“What I’ve said is, I’m going to decide by the beginning of next year and see if there is going to be another chapter in my public service career. We’ll see,” he said.

Holder also blasted Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ decisions in the job. During his time as attorney general, Holder said the Justice Department would not enforce the Defense of Marriage Act and fought against discriminatory voting restrictions—both of which could appeal to liberal voters.

IS ERIC HOLDER RUNNING IN 2020?: Maybe. Let’s see later this year.

14) Rep. Tim Ryan

Is Rep. Tim Ryan running in 2020? TimRyanVision/YouTube

Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) is relatively unknown but raised his profile earlier this year when he challenged House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to lead the Democrats following Trump’s surprise election victory.

Ryan’s name has been subject to rumors of a possible 2020 bid for months, and when asked in September by Hardball host Chris Matthews about possibly running for president he responded with “I don’t know.”

Around the same time, Ryan spoke in Iowa and urged Democrats to focus on an economic message in future elections that starts “with letting these working-class people know that we see them, we hear them and we know what they are going through, and we have a plan.”

In late July, the Intercept reported that Ryan was telling people he intended to run for president, and told at least one political operative that he was “gonna win.”

IS TIM RYAN RUNNING IN 2020?: Too early to tell

15) Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley

2020 presidential election Photo via Edward Kimmel/Flickr (CC-BY-SA)

You may have forgotten Martin O’Malley, given how crazy the 2016 election and primaries were. But O’Malley did compete against Sanders and Clinton during the Democratic presidential primaries.

O’Malley didn’t score very well in any of the primaries, finishing a distant third in Iowa before suspending his campaign.

But perhaps he’ll take another crack at the presidency in what is expected to be a wide-open Democratic field ahead of 2020. As FiveThirtyEight points out, O’Malley spent more time in Iowa between 2013 and 2016 than Clinton or Sanders and has visited early voting states like Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina in recent months.

O’Malley did push for same-sex marriage in Maryland, signing a law in 2012 and repealing the death penalty in the state–issues that are core to many Democrats.

In April, O’Malley told NBC News that he is keeping an “open heart and an open mind” about running for president again.

A month later, a local news channel spoke with O’Maley in New Hampshire–a state anyone seriously considering running would spend a lot of time in–where he said he “might” run in 2020.

In the interview he took swings at Trump that would likely be standard fare in any primary or general election matchup.

“I believe that the Trump administration is an administration whose malice has been tempered only by their own incompetence,” he said.

Since then, as the Baltimore Sun points out, O’Malley has been stumping for down-ballot Democrats across the country. This could be interpreted as the former governor laying groundwork for another shot at the presidency, or it could simply be him being a good party soldier helping to try and get more Democrats elected in this year’s midterms.

IS O’MALLEY RUNNING IN 2020?: Does it matter?

16) Rep. John Delaney

2020 presidential election John K. Delaney/YouTube

Rep. John Delaney (D-Md.) is the only candidate to officially announce their candidacy for 2020.

The congressman announced way back in July that he would be seeking the Democratic nomination, telling Business Insider that he thinks voters will be “open-minded and wants to do what’s best for their party and most importantly their country.”

Delaney is known as moderate and supported a measure to raise money to build infrastructure by allowing corporations in the United States to avoid taxes on overseas profits if they purchase bonds to be used for infrastructure, the AP reports.

“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 told the news outlet. “It’s a lot easier to build name recognition over a year and a half than it is across two months.”

As of April, Delaney has spent more than $1 million on ads in Iowa and made 110 campaign stops in in the state, according to Politico.

“I think I’m the right person for the job, and I have the right vision, but not enough people know who I am,”he told the news outlet. “The way you solve that problem is by getting in early.”

IS DELANEY RUNNING IN 2020? Yes.

17) Oprah Winfrey

Oprah Winfrey, Possible 2020 Presidential Candidate Screenshot via OWN/YouTube

Oprah Winfrey’s name has come up for years as a potential presidential candidate–and 2020 is no different.

Talks of an impending Oprah run heated up when, on Sept. 28, Winfrey tweeted out an article endorsing her for president, calling the former talk show host the Democrats’ “best hope” to challenge Trump. In the tweet, Winfrey thanked the writer for a “vote of confidence.”  

In fact, Trump’s election may have sparked some more interest in Winfrey. Speaking with Bloomberg News, Winfrey said with Trump’s win, she may have overestimated what it takes to become president.

“I thought, ‘Oh, gee, I don’t have the experience, I don’t know enough.’ And now I’m thinking, ‘Oh,’” she said.

The whole idea of an Oprah vs. Trump election gets weirder when you consider that Trump considered having her as a running mate when he toyed with the idea of running for president under the reform party in 2000.

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A speech Winfrey gave at the Golden Globe awards sparked intense speculation about a 2020 presidential run, but in late January, she seemed to put it all to rest, saying that running for president is “not something that interests me.”

While she says she isn’t running, at least one poll says she would beat Trump in a hypothetical 2020 matchup. A poll by Zogby Analytics found 53 percent of likely voters would choose her, compared to 47 percent who would choose Trump.

However, former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer disagrees with that notion.

IS OPRAH RUNNING IN 2020?: No.


Honorable mentions

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, Former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz, Rep. Keith Ellison (Minn.), New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu, Former Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe, Montana Governor Steve Bullock, Sen. Chris Murphy (Conn.), Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (R.I.)

Editor’s note: The Daily Dot will periodically update this list as people begin to make it clear whether they will seek the 2020 Democratic nomination.

Andrew Wyrich

Andrew Wyrich

Andrew Wyrich is a politics staff writer for the Daily Dot, covering the intersection of politics and the internet. Andrew has written for USA Today, NorthJersey.com, and other newspapers and websites. His work has been recognized by the Society of the Silurians, Investigative Reporters & Editors (IRE), and the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ).