Key moments in the 2020 Democratic presidential race so far

Key moments in the 2020 Democratic presidential race so far
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More than two dozen Democrats launched presidential campaigns in 2019 — but just 15 remain in the race as the year comes to a close. 

The race for the Democratic nomination has so far been marked by a fight between centrist candidates and those from the progressive camp over who is best suited to take on President TrumpDonald John TrumpPelosi eyes end of April to bring a fourth coronavirus relief bill to the floor NBA to contribute 1 million surgical masks to NY essential workers Private equity firm with ties to Kushner asks Trump administration to relax rules on loan program: report MORE in 2020. 

As Democrats across the country prepare to cast votes in primaries in 2020, here’s a look back at some of the year’s key moments of the early stages of the primary race: 


Former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenSome Sanders top allies have urged him to withdraw from 2020 race: report Sunday shows preview: As coronavirus spreads in the U.S., officials from each sector of public life weigh in Trump defends firing of intel watchdog, calling him a 'disgrace' MORE 

April 25: Officially enters crowded race, becoming an instant front-runner after skipping the 2016 race.

June 27: Comes under attack from Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisEnlisting tech to fight coronavirus sparks surveillance fears Biden says his administration could help grow 'bench' for Democrats Is Texas learning to love ObamaCare? MORE (D-Calif.) during the second night of the first primary debate over his stance on racial busing. 

August 2019: Becomes embroiled in the impeachment inquiry against Trump after a whistleblower complaint details a call in which the president pressed Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate Biden and his son, Hunter Biden.

Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersSome Sanders top allies have urged him to withdraw from 2020 race: report We're at war and need wartime institutions to keep our economy producing what's necessary Larry David: Bernie Sanders should drop out of 2020 race MORE (I-Vt.)

Feb. 19: Launches second race for the Democratic nomination after an unexpectedly strong, but unsuccessful, challenge against 2016 nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonFormer Obama adviser Plouffe predicts 'historical level' of turnout by Trump supporters Poll: More Republican voters think party is more united than Democratic voters Whoopi Goldberg presses Sanders: 'Why are you still in the race?' MORE.

Oct. 4: Suffers heart attack, reviving concerns about age for the 78-years-old candidate. He took a brief time off before returning to his campaign.


Oct. 19: Sanders is endorsed by progressive star Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezOvernight Health Care: Global coronavirus cases top 1M | Cities across country in danger of becoming new hotspots | Trump to recommend certain Americans wear masks | Record 6.6M file jobless claims Trump blasts Schumer over 'incorrect sound bites' on coronavirus Trump warns against 'partisan investigations' after Pelosi establishes select committee on virus response MORE (D-N.Y.) at a Queens rally. Fellow freshman “squad” members Reps. Ilhan OmarIlhan OmarTexas man arrested for allegedly threatening Democrats over coronavirus bill Undocumented aliens should stay away as COVID-19 rages in the US The Southern Poverty Law Center and yesterday's wars MORE (D-Minn.) and Rashida TlaibRashida Harbi TlaibDemocrats eye additional relief checks for coronavirus 20 House Dems call on Trump to issue two-week, nationwide shelter-in-place order Pressley, Tlaib introduce bill providing .5B in emergency grants for the homeless MORE (D-Mich.) also back Sanders. 

Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenDemocrats seize on Trump's firing of intelligence community watchdog Biden says his administration could help grow 'bench' for Democrats Overnight Health Care: CDC recommends face coverings in public | Resistance to social distancing sparks new worries | Controversy over change of national stockpile definition | McConnell signals fourth coronavirus bill MORE (D-Mass.) 

Feb. 9: Formally kicks off her campaign, going on to unveil a slew of progressive policy proposals that she turns into a campaign slogan: “Warren has a plan for that.” 

Nov. 1: Releases her “Medicare for All plan” with details on cost after coming under heavy attack by opponents that she was not being transparent about a signature campaign issue. 

Dec. 19: Clashes with rival South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPete ButtigiegButtigieg launches new PAC to aid down-ballot candidates HuffPost political reporter on why Bernie fell way behind Biden Economists fear slow pace of testing will prolong recession MORE at the sixth Democratic debate over fundraising after weeks of sniping between the two candidates.

South Bend., Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg 

April 13: Officially launches his campaign after unexpectedly gaining traction despite being the youngest candidate and less well known than some of the other front-runners. He also becomes the first openly gay major Democratic presidential candidate. 

June 16: Buttigieg takes time off from his campaign to deal with a police-involved shooting of a black man in South Bend as his lack of support from minority voters continue to dog his campaign.

November: Several polls show a surge for Buttigieg in Iowa, bringing momentum to his campaign, though he remains fourth in most national polls.

Rep. Tulsi GabbardTulsi Gabbard20 House Dems call on Trump to issue two-week, nationwide shelter-in-place order The Hill's Morning Report — ,000,000,000,000: GOP unveils historic US rescue effort Gillibrand endorses Biden for president MORE (D-Hawaii) 

Jan. 11: Officially launches her campaign, focusing on her foreign policy experience as a military combat veteran. 

Oct. 18: Comes under attack from Hillary Clinton, who suggests that Gabbard is the “favorite of the Russians” to win the 2020 presidential election.

Dec. 18: Gabbard comes under fire from Democrats after voting “present” on the two articles of impeachment against Trump.

Sen. Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerEnlisting tech to fight coronavirus sparks surveillance fears Democrats urge administration to automatically issue coronavirus checks to more people Democrats ask EPA, Interior to pause rulemaking amid coronavirus MORE (D-N.J.) 

Feb. 1: Officially files for election. Booker launches his campaign a few months later in April, with a call for unity from Newark, the city that launched him to national stardom after serving as mayor for two terms. 

December: Calls for lower criteria for primary debates after failing to make it to the event in December, saying the party needs more diverse voices represented on stage.

Former tech entrepreneur Andrew YangAndrew YangAndrew Yang: Calling coronavirus 'China virus' only used to incite 'hostility' Andrew Yang to launch issues-based podcast Majority of young Americans support universal basic income, public healthcare: poll MORE

Nov. 6, 2017: Enters the field as a relative unknown, pushing a central campaign proposal: a universal basic income of $1,000 a month for every American adult.

Dec. 19: Becomes the only candidate of color and outsider to make the debate stage, signaling a campaign that has caught fire on the strength of his personality, viral momentum, grassroots enthusiasm and guerrilla marketing.

Former New York City Mayor Michael BloombergMichael BloombergFormer Bloomberg staffer seeks class-action lawsuit over layoffs Bloomberg spent over 0M on presidential campaign The Hill's Campaign Report: Officials in spotlight over coronavirus response MORE 


Nov. 21: Files an official statement of candidacy as part of a series of steps to officially launch his presidential campaign after citing concerns that none of the existing candidates can take on President Trump.

Nov. 22: Unveils a multi-million ad blitz as part of an unorthodox campaign that will see him skip the first few nominating states to focus on the Super Tuesday states, raising strong criticism from his Democratic rivals about his spending.

Sen. Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharBiden says his administration could help grow 'bench' for Democrats Democrats fear coronavirus impact on November turnout Hillicon Valley: Zoom draws new scrutiny amid virus fallout | Dems step up push for mail-in voting | Google to lift ban on political ads referencing coronavirus MORE (D-Minn.) 

Feb. 11: Officially launches her campaign in the middle of a snow storm, calling herself a pragmatist and touting the work she’s done in the senate. 

Dec. 19: Receives strong reviews over her debate performance, bringing renewed attention to her candidacy as she places most of her focus on the Iowa caucus.

Former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro 

Jan. 21: Launches campaign as one of highest-profile Latinos to ever run for president.


Nov. 10: Castro came out in support of replacing Iowa and New Hampshire as the first two voting states with others that are more diverse. 

Former hedge fund executive Tom SteyerTom SteyerProgressive advocates propose T 'green stimulus' plan Candidates want data privacy rules, except for their own campaigns Budowsky: Biden should pull together a 'dream team of rivals' MORE 

July 9: Launches campaign vowing to end corruption in the political system after making a name for himself as one of the leading proponents to impeach Trump.

Sen. Michael BennetMichael Farrand BennetDemocrats urge administration to automatically issue coronavirus checks to more people Five things being discussed for a new coronavirus relief bill Cyber threats spike during coronavirus pandemic MORE (D-Colo.)

May 5: Kicks off presidential campaign just months after a memorable speech on the Senate floor in January in which he tore into Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzOvernight Energy: Oil giants meet with Trump at White House | Interior extends tenure of controversial land management chief | Oil prices tick up on hopes of Russia-Saudi deal Oil giants meet at White House amid talk of buying strategic reserves Florida sheriff asks for new leads in disappearance of Carole Baskin's former husband after Netflix's 'Tiger King' drops MORE (R-Texas) amid heightened tensions over the government shutdown.

Former Mass. Gov. Deval PatrickDeval PatrickTop Democratic super PACs team up to boost Biden Andrew Yang endorses Biden in 2020 race Deval Patrick backs Biden MORE 

Nov. 14: Launches campaign, vowing to unify the party among its centrist and progressive camps.

Former Rep. John DelaneyJohn DelaneyJohn Delaney endorses Biden Nevada caucuses open with a few hiccups Lobbying world MORE (D-Md.) 

August 10, 2017: Becomes the earliest contender to launch their campaign, though he has struggled to gain traction since.

Author Marianne WilliamsonMarianne WilliamsonThe Hill's Campaign Report: Biden looks to stretch lead in Tuesday contests Pelosi: 'I usually always cast my vote for a woman' Pelosi: 'We'll have a woman president' someday MORE 

Feb. 4: Launches campaign as an outsider who has authored self-help books and was also previously known as Oprah WinfreyOprah Gail WinfreyOprah donates million to coronavirus relief efforts Michelle Obama hosts from-home voter registration party with DJ D-Nice Giuliani asked for post-9/11 mayoral election to be canceled so he could stay in office: book MORE's spiritual adviser.


14 candidates have dropped out of the race this year. Here are some of their most memorable moments.

Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) 

Launch: Jan. 21, ends: Dec. 3

June 27: Surges in polls and sees bump in fundraising after a strong performance in the first Democratic debate, where she faced-off with Biden, but her campaign falters and she eventually ends her campaign over a lack of funding. 

Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas) 

Launch: March 14, ends: Nov. 1

August: Takes time off campaigning after a mass shooting in his home town of El Paso, drawing praise among Democrats for his call for more action on gun control, but is unable to overcome a series of missteps including a widely panned cover interview with Vanity Fair.

Sen. Kirsten GillibrandKirsten GillibrandThe Hill's Campaign Report: Biden struggles to stay in the spotlight Biden fights for attention in coronavirus news cycle Lawmakers already planning more coronavirus stimulus after T package MORE (D-N.Y.) 

Launch: March 17, ends: Aug. 28

March 17: Gillibrand faced criticism as soon as she launched her campaign over her call in 2017 for Sen. Al FrankenAlan (Al) Stuart FrankenAl Franken blasts Susan Collins: She'll let Trump 'get away with anything' Bill Press: Don't forget about Amy Key moments in the 2020 Democratic presidential race so far MORE (D-Minn.) to resign after multiple women accused him of sexual misconduct.

Montana Gov. Steve BullockSteve BullockPolitics and the pandemic — Republicans are rightly worried The Hill's Campaign Report: Biden moves to unify party before general election Poll shows Daines, Bullock neck and neck in Montana Senate race MORE 

Launched: May 14, ends: Dec. 2

May 14: Bullock pitches himself as a strong candidate to take on Trump, noting that he was the only candidate to win in a state-wide race in a state Trump carried in 2016, but his campaign failed to catch fire.

New York City Mayor Bill de BlasioBill de BlasioUS attorney opposes release of inmates in DC Britain releases 4,000 inmates to curb spread of coronavirus  NYC landlord tells tenants in 18 buildings to skip April rent MORE 

Launch: May 16, ends: Sept. 20

May 16: The New York City mayor’s race never gained traction despite leading one of the biggest cities in the world and boasting strong progressive credentials.

Colorado Gov. John HickenlooperJohn HickenlooperSenate GOP super PAC books more than million in fall ads Poll shows Daines, Bullock neck and neck in Montana Senate race Progressive challenger: How we overcame Chuck Schumer meddling MORE

Launch March 4, ends: Aug. 15

Aug. 15: Hickenlooper ends his long-shot campaign in August to run for senate, becoming a strong challenger to vulnerable Republican Sen. Cory GardnerCory Scott GardnerGOP senator calls for investigation into 'mismanagement' of strategic ventilators Romney says he tested negative for coronavirus, will remain in quarantine Senate GOP super PAC books more than million in fall ads MORE

Washington Gov. Jay InsleeJay Robert InsleeSunday shows preview: As coronavirus spreads in the U.S., officials from each sector of public life weigh in Decentralized leadership raises questions about Trump coronavirus response Social distancing works, but resistance prompts worries of growing crisis MORE 

Launch: March 1, ends: Aug. 21

Aug. 21: Decides to seek reelection in Washington after making climate change the central focus of his presidential campaign. 

Rep. Seth MoultonSeth MoultonAsian American lawmaker warns of fear of racism over coronavirus stigma Pressley experiencing flu-like symptoms, being tested for COVID-19 The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Airbnb - Senate overcomes hurdles, passes massive coronavirus bill MORE (D-Mass.) 

Launch: May 7, ends: Aug. 23

Rep. Tim RyanTimothy (Tim) RyanDemocrats eye additional relief checks for coronavirus Lawmakers call for universal basic income amid coronavirus crisis Democrats tear into Trump's speech: It was a 'MAGA rally' MORE (D-Ohio)

Launch: April 11, ends: Oct. 24

Rep. Eric SwalwellEric Michael SwalwellKey House chairman cautions against remote voting, suggests other options amid coronavirus outbreak House Democrats plead with key committee chairman to allow remote voting amid coronavirus pandemic Congress tiptoes toward remote voting MORE (D-Calif.) 

Launch: April 8, ends: July 8

Miramar, Fla., Wayne MessamWayne Martin MessamKey moments in the 2020 Democratic presidential race so far Wayne Messam suspends Democratic presidential campaign 2020 primary debate guide: Everything you need to know ahead of the November forum MORE

Launch: March 15, ends: Nov. 20

Former West Virginia state Sen. Richard Ojeda

Launch: Nov. 11, ends: Jan. 25

Former Rep. Joe Sestak (D-Pa.)

Launch: July 1, ends: Dec. 1

Former Sen. Mike Gravel (Alaska)

Launch: April 2, ends: July 31