LOS ANGELES - As Joe Sestak throws his hat in the ring for the Democratic presidential nomination in the 2020 election, the field of total presidential candidates has grown to 27, 25 of which are Democrats.
Here's a look at those 27 candidates and some of the issues they plan to focus on during their campaigns.
Michael Bennet has been a Senator from Colorado since 2009, before which he served as superintendent of Denver Public Schools. He also served two years as Chief of Staff to fellow Democratic presidential hopeful, John Hickenlooper, during his time as mayor of Denver.
One of Bennet's main focuses in his campaign is offering a more moderate solution to the healthcare issue, pushing for what he is calling Medicare X. Instead of pushing for single-payer health care like many other democrats in the race, Bennet proposed a bill that would allow consumers to buy into insurance exchanges. He has also proposed a bill called the American Family Act which would reduce poverty among children from about 15 percent to 9.5 percent.
There are 7,591 words in the Constitution of the United States; politics is not one of them. Yet too often today, the campaigning never stops and the governing never begins. To make progress, we must fix our broken politics. - Michael Bennet
The 47th vice president of the United States has now officially tossed his name in the running for the 2020 presidency. Biden served as a senator from Delaware for 36 years before assuming the role of VP to former President Barack Obama in 2009. This will be Biden's third bid for the presidency; he also ran in 1988 and 2008.
Biden will focus on rebuilding the middle class, repairing our relationships with allies and modernizing the military.
We're in a battle for the soul of America. It's time to remember who we are. We're Americans: tough, resilient, but always full of hope. It's time to treat each other with dignity. Build a middle class that works for everybody. Fight back against the incredible abuses of power we're seeing. It's time to dig deep and remember that our best days still lie ahead. - Joe Biden, Biden For president
Cory Booker has served as a U.S. senator from New Jersey since 2013, but he got his start as a tenant organizer for a public housing project that he lived in immediately after leaving Yale. Booker was elected mayor of Newark in 2006.
Booker's campaign is centered around restoring national unity, with a heavy focus on economic and criminal justice reform. He wants to achieve marijuana legalization on a federal level, Medicare for all, federally-backed savings accounts for every child born in America, increased action against climate change and stronger legal protections for environmental injustice.
As a tenant lawyer, city councilman, mayor, and now U.S. senator, Cory has spent his life bringing people together to take on the problems we face. And what he's learned is that the support of a loving community can overcome even the most insurmountable challenges. His vision for our country is one in which we are measured by our ability to love and to come together to create a more fair and just nation for everyone. - Booker 2020
53-year-old Montana Governor, Steve Bullock is the most recent candidate to join the race, though his campaign has been long in the making — Bullock visited the Iowa State Fair last year. A graduate of Columbia Law School, Bullock worked in private practice for years before going on to be elected Attorney General of Montana in 2008.
Bullock will focus on campaign finance, and promises to get rid of the corruption that allows campaign finance to rule elections and drown out the voice of the people.
I believe in an America where every child has a fair shot to do better than their parents. But we all know that kind of opportunity no longer exists for most people; for far too many, it never has. We need to defeat Donald Trump in 2020 and defeat the corrupt system that lets campaign money drown out the people's voice, so we can finally make good on the promise of a fair shot for everyone. - Steve Bullock
At age 37, Pete Buttigieg is one of the youngest candidates in the race, and he's framing his campaign around the idea that nostalgia for bygone eras is getting in the way of creating a better future. Buttigieg is focused on the issues that have become focal points for American youth in recent years, like addressing climate change, making health care more accessible and creating strong protections for marginalized identities.
Buttigieg is currently serving as the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, a position he assumed at only 29 years old. He once took an unpaid seven-month leave from his position as mayor to deploy to Afghanistan as a lieutenant in the U.S. Navy Reserve.
Pete is laying out a vision, values, and policies to ensure that America's future is better than its past. We need to secure a future in which every American has the freedom to live a life of their choosing; where our republic grows more and not less democratic; where racial justice is a reality and not a dream; where we've put an end to endless war; where we've summoned the national will to meet the challenge of climate change; where everyone has the health care they need; and where everyone has the chance to find purpose and belonging in our economy and our country. - Pete For America
Julián Castro had been mayor of San Antonio, Texas for five years when President Barack Obama offered him the role of secretary of housing and urban development in 2014. During his three years in the role, Castro worked to reduce the number of homeless veterans, make housing more accessible and improve the conditions of public housing.
Castro has highlighted his immigrant roots in building out his campaign. His grandmother came to the United States at 7 years old, paving the way for his mother to become a prominent Chicana activist, and for him and his twin brother to become public servants. Now he has built a campaign around protecting the American dream for all.
In his campaign announcement, he cited Medicare for all, universal pre-kindergarten, and comprehensive immigration reform that includes a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants.
Americans from all walks of life want the same thing: to do right by our families and have the promise of America fulfilled. And I believe that's exactly what we can do: We can promise young people that college doesn't have to equal a future of crushing debt. We can promise our seniors that they can count on a life of dignity. We can promise our veterans that they'll be respected and honored when they come home. We can promise people of color that they are safe, and promise immigrants that they are welcome. - Julián Castro, Julian For the Future
Bill de Blasio
Before being elected mayor of New York City in a landslide 2013 election, Bill de Blasio held a seat on New York City Council's 39th District for three terms, which paved the way for him to be elected New York City Public Advocate in 2008.
De Blasio is focused on taking the reforms he has successfully initiated in New York to the national level—reforms such as raising the minimum wage to $15, providing paid sick leave for hourly workers, guaranteed health coverage, and free pre-K for all.
There's plenty of money in this world, there's plenty of money in this country, it's just in the wrong hands...As president, I will take on the wealthy, I will take on the big cororations, I will not rest until this government serves working people...Donald Trump must be stopped. I've beaten him before, and I'll do it again. - de Blasio 2020
John Delaney is an entrepreneur and former congressman from Maryland who has been campaigning for the presidency since 2017. Delaney founded two successful companies that collectively created thousands of jobs, one of which was a loan provider for small and mid-sized businesses that was awarded the Treasury Department's Bank Enterprise Award for investing in low-income communities.
Delaney's campaign is focused on unifying a divided nation, and he has already proposed an ambitious set of initiatives that are interrelated as part of his plan to do so. He wants to boost economic opportunity by creating jobs and service programs centered around improving infrastructure and combating climate change. He's pushing for universal health care and legislation that would regulate the prices of pharmaceuticals. To fix the political system, Delaney wants to get rid of Citizens United and gerrymandering, and he says he would only push forward bipartisan bills to encourage cooperation from both parties. But he's also looking to make headway on issues surrounding tech and globalization, like creating a Department of Cybersecurity and forming a national strategy on artificial intelligence.
Americans deserve a leader who will unite our divided nation and turn big ideas—that address present day and future challenges and opportunities—into real solutions. - Delaney For president 2020
At the age of 21, Tulsi Gabbard served in Hawaii's State Legislature before going on to complete two deployments to the Middle East as part of the Hawaii Army National Guard. Today she is a major in the National Guard and is serving her fourth-term in Congress.
Gabbard's experience in the military inspired her presidential platform, and putting an end to regime change wars overseas is her most pressing point. She hopes to redirect the resources that are being poured into American military interventions overseas into creating a renewable, sustainable economy at home. Environmental protection, infrastructure improvement, breaking up big banks, criminal justice reform, health care for all and sustainable agriculture are also major priorities.
Regime change wars are bankrupting our country and our moral authority. We need to redirect those resources into a renewable, sustainable economy that works for everyone and bring about an era of peace. We must put service above self and reclaim our great democracy from the forces of hatred and division. - Tulsi Gabbard, Tulsi 2020
Kirsten Gillibrand started her political career as a law clerk on the Second Circuit Court of Appeals and then as a lawyer in the Department of Housing and Urban Development during the Clinton administration. In 2006, she was elected to Congress to represent the state of New York and became only the sixth woman in U.S. history to give birth while serving as a congresswoman.
Gillibrand wants money out of politics and is running her campaign to reflect it; she has vowed to reject corporate PAC and federal lobbyist money. Affordable quality health care and high-quality public education are also major parts of her platform.
Today, as a mother of young sons, Kirsten is running for president to fight for America's families as hard as she fights for her own. She's running on a vision for an America in which quality and affordable health care is a right, public education is strong regardless of the block you grow up on, hard work is rewarded and greed and money are eliminated from politics. - Gillibrand 2020
A former senator and congressman from Alaska, Mike Gravel is running an incredibly unorthodox campaign and doesn't actually want people's votes. Gravel has made it clear that he's not running to win, but he is aiming to make it into the Democratic primaries so that he can debate in front of the country. His only goal is to "push the field left," and he says he would drop out of the race after debating.
Sen. Gravel's platform is the most progressive of any Democratic candidate. The platform is centered on a mission of ending all wars—not only our murderous wars of choice abroad, but our disastrous war on drugs, the war on crime, and the everyday war on this country's working class. Our goal is a country defined by peace and justice—not by violence, inequality, and poverty. - Gravel 2020
Kamala Harris served two terms as district attorney of San Francisco before she went on to become the first African American woman in U.S. history to serve as California attorney general, and the second African American woman to be elected to the U.S. Senate, where she represents the state of California today. As a senator, Harris serves on the Senate Judiciary Committee, Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, Select Committee on Intelligence, and the Committee on Budget.
She was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay area and has devoted her career to public service with a strong focus on civil rights and reforming the criminal justice system. In her bid for president, she has promised to implement tax cuts for working and middle-class Americans, and to continue fighting for women's rights, civil rights, immigrant rights and voting rights.
You see, in our system of justice, we believe that a harm against any one of us is a harm against all of us. That's why when we file a case, it's not filed in the name of the victim. It reads, "The People."...My whole life, I've only had one client: the people. - Kamala Harris
John Hickenlooper is a geologist and brewpub-owner-turned-politician. After a successful entrepreneurial career, Hickenlooper was elected mayor of Denver in 2003. It was the first campaign he ran in his life. He went on to be elected as governor of Colorado in 2010, and again in 2014, making him the acting governor when recreational marijuana was legalized through first-of-its-kind legislation.
I'm running for President because we need dreamers in Washington, but we also need to get things done. I've proven again and again I can bring people together to produce the progressive change Washington has failed to deliver. - John Hickenlooper, Hickenlooper 2020
Jay Inslee has served as the governor of Washington state since 2013, and was a congressman for Washington's 4th congressional district in the early 90s. Inslee has championed progressive initiatives to address climate change at every stage of his career in public service, and he has enacted policies as governor that have positioned Washington state as a national leader in clean energy, air and water.
Inslee will focus just as significantly on issues related to climate change in his presidential campaign. His plan, which he's calling the "Climate Mission," proposes investing in a clean energy economy that will create millions of jobs across the country.
Through Jay's Climate Mission, America will build upon the leadership of states and local communities, and engage the full energy of our country in a 10-year mobilization to confront climate change, end our reliance on fossil fuels, and create a clean energy future. This mission must be led by the White House — starting with bold action on day one of the next administration. There is no time to lose. - Inslee For America
Amy Klobuchar served as Hennepin County attorney for two terms, from 1998 to 2006, before being elected to the Senate for the state of Minnesota, where she has served for the past 12 years.
Klobuchar's top budget priority is fixing infrastructure. She has drafted a wide-sweeping, trillion-dollar plan that proposes the repair and replacement of roads, highways and bridges. Klobuchar also looks to provide protection against flooding, modernize airports and seaports, expand public transportation, rebuild schools, connect every household to the internet by 2020 and ensure clean water.
I'm running because we need to rise to the occasion and meet the challenges of our day. For too long leaders in Washington have sat on the sidelines while others try to figure out what to do about our changing economy and its impact on our lives, what to do about the disruptive nature of new technologies, income inequality, the political and geographic divides, the changing climate, the tumult in our world. Let's stop seeing those obstacles as obstacles on our path. Let's see those obstacles as our path. - Klobuchar 2020
Wayne Messam became the first black mayor of Miramar, Florida when he was elected in 2015.
The key issues Messam plans to tackle if elected are gun safety, climate change and resolving the student debt crisis. He has proposed rescinding the 2017 tax cut package to create new funds for a one-time, in-full federal government debt cancellation plan that would wipe away borrowers' debt within 60 days.
Washington is not working for the American people, and these big issues need fresh eyes and bold ideas from someone closer to the people, so our voice can be heard. Together, we can fundamentally change our country for the better and tackle these challenges with actions that match the scale and urgency of this moment. - Wayne Messam, Wayne For America
Seth Moulton served four tours in Iraq and earned two medals of valor for his service before winning a congressional seat for the state of Massachusetts in 2014, a race he won against a longstanding Democratic incumbent.
Because of his experience serving as a Marine, Moulton has made foreign policy and national security reform a top priority, arguing that the U.S. need to be fighting smarter instead of following a "more" mentality (more troops, more outdated weapons systems, more ships, more spending). He's pushing for increased diplomacy efforts, like new alliances, and he suggests a Pacific NATO as a response to threats from Russia and China. Addressing climate change, establishing affordable health care as a right, creating new jobs and protecting voter rights are also key issues Moulton plans to tackle.
In the Marines, our division's motto was "no better friend, no worse enemy." That means your allies trust you, and your enemies trust your resolve. Our country should be no different. But over the last couple years, this administration has turned its back on our friends and cozied up to our adversaries. Donald Trump's erratic foreign policy has weakened the country, left our allies in the lurch, and emboldened our adversaries across the globe. That needs to change in 2020. - Seth Moulton 2020
Former congressman from Texas Beto O'Rourke became a household name during his highly publicized but ultimately unsuccessful 2018 Senate campaign against longstanding Sen. Ted Cruz. Before his three terms in Congress, O'Rourke served on the El Paso City Council from 2005 to 2011.
O'Rourke aims to take on powerful special interests and get big money out of politics, create new pathways to citizenship for immigrants, improve access to quality health care and reform the criminal justice system through endeavors like legalizing marijuana and ending for-profit prisons.
We will not be defined by our fears or the smallness of our differences; we will instead be known by our ambitions, our aspirations and the resolve, the creativity, the service and sacrifice by which we will have achieved them. - Beto For America
Tim Ryan was elected to Congress for the state of Ohio at the age of 29 after working as a congressional staffer.
Ryan promises to focus on the issues that he says will rebuild the American dream: public education, affordable health care and an economy that works for every American. Having lived in the Rust Belt all his life, Ryan will center workers and their needs at the heart of his campaign.
"My goal is not that America will become a perfect nation. My goal is that America will be a kinder, more compassionate nation." - Tim Ryan For America
Bernie Sanders, who identifies as a democratic socialist, captivated the country during his 2016 run for the Democratic nomination for president against Hillary Clinton, but his political career began long before. He was mayor of Burlington, Vermont for eight years, and he served as a congressman for 16 years before being elected to the Senate.
He is running on a platform built around the same ideologies which shaped his 2016 campaign: Medicare for all, free college tuition and limiting the influence of billionaires and money in politics.
I'm running for president so that, when we are in the White House, the movement we build together can achieve economic, racial, social and environmental justice for all. - Bernie 2020
The former Pennsylvania congressman and retired three-star Navy admiral announced his bid in late June. The 67-year-old said part of the reason for waiting so long to announce his bid was because of his daughter's brain cancer battle.
Part of Sestak's campaign includes fighting lobbyists in D.C., cutting taxes for the middle class while raising the corporate tax, restoring the Affordable Care Act with a public option to expand access and rejoining the Paris Accord to combat climate change, among other things. He includes categories of the issues he has ideas for in a "Plan for America" section on his campaign website.
We must end our government's capitulation to corporate power and moneyed influence, with its revolving door for corporate lobbying jobs. The government must reassert itself as the honest force of accountability for the people. U.S. businesses should not be doing the business of China, and then lobbying us to do so. - Joe Sestak 2020
Eric Swalwell is a three-term California congressman who has recently gained attention for his role (and television appearances related to it) on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, which performed investigations into Russian interference in the 2016 election.
The cornerstones of Swalwell's campaign are ending gun violence, making health care more accessible to all and education reform.
I've been in Congress for six years. I see an America in quicksand, making zero progress on anything that matters. I hear from school children who are learning in fear because too many lawmakers love their guns more than they love our kids...I want to bring the promise of America to all Americans. The promise is a simple one: if you work hard, your blood, sweat, and tears should add up to you doing better for yourself and dreaming bigger for your kids. - Swalwell For America
Elizabeth Warren was a professor for more than 30 years at Rutgers University, University of Houston, University of Texas-Austin, University of Michigan, University of Pennsylvania and Harvard University. During the 2008 financial crisis, she served as chair of the Congressional Oversight Panel to help with oversight of the Wall Street bailout. She went on to become a senator from Massachusetts in 2012.
Warren has set her sights on ending corruption in Washington, getting big money out of politics, expanding voting rights and rebuilding the middle class through the strengthening of unions, enforcement of antitrust laws and tax reform.
This is the fight of our lives. The fight to build an America that works for everyone, not just the wealthy and the well-connected. It won't be easy. But united by our values, we can make big, structural change. We can raise our voices together until this fight is won. - Elizabeth Warren, Warren For President
Marianne Williamson is a self-help author who began writing and speaking about spiritual psychotherapy in the 1980s. She became an advocate for the rights of gay men during the AIDS crisis, and she created Project Angel Food, a meal service that delivers food to people with serious illnesses who cannot leave their home, and which has now delivered over 11 million meals.
Williamson's biggest proposal is for monetary reparations for slavery, suggesting that $100 billion be distributed in $10 billion increments over the course of 10 years to stimulate economic and educational programs.
What America most needs is a renewal of the spirit of our democracy, in the absence of which the political corruption and human devastation that have become all too common in America will continue to erode our nation. As someone who has had a thirty-five-year career facilitating personal and systems transformation, I believe I have expertise and skill that is most needed at this time. - Marianne Williamson, Marianne 2020
Andrew Yang comes from the tech industry and is an entrepreneur and former executive who founded a highly successful education company before going on to found Venture for America, an economic development nonprofit that helps entrepreneurs create jobs.
Yang has settled on three major policies in his campaign: a universal basic income of $1,000 monthly for every American, Medicare for all and human-centered capitalism.
We need to move to a new form of capitalism – Human Capitalism – that's geared towards maximizing human well-being and fulfillment. The central tenets of Human Capitalism are: 1. Humans are more important than money, 2. The unit of a Human Capitalism economy is each person, not each dollar, 3. Markets exist to serve our common goals and values. - Andrew Yang, Yang 2020
Donald Trump is currently serving as the 45th president of the United States after a long and highly-publicized career as a businessman and television personality.
Trump is devoted to tackling the same issues in 2020 that are on his slate right now: buckling down on immigration and strengthening national security through endeavors like building a wall at the Mexico border, renegotiating or exiting from trade deals like TPP and NAFTA to boost the economy and building up the military to fight terrorism abroad.
"We will make America strong again. We will make America proud again. We will make America safe again. And we will Make America Great Again!" - Donald Trump, Donald J. Trump For president
William Weld was elected governor of Massachusetts in 1990 and re-elected in 1994. He was the first Republican to be elected to the office in 20 years. He got his political start as a staffer for Congress during the Watergate case which led to Nixon's impeachment, and then he went on to serve as assistant U.S. attorney general in Ronald Reagan's Justice Department.
Weld is framing his campaign around his direct opposition to the Trump administration, situating himself as the moderate Republican alternative to Trump. He hopes to reduce divisiveness between parties and implement more conservative economic policies.
It is time for patriotic men and women across our great nation to stand and plant a flag. It is time to return to the principles of Lincoln – equality, dignity, and opportunity for all. There is no greater cause on earth than to preserve what truly makes America great. I am ready to lead that fight. - Bill Weld