June 24, 2019 / 5:58 PM / 23 days ago

FACTBOX-Two Republicans, over two dozen Democrats vie for U.S. presidential nomination

 (Adds Sestak)
    June 24 (Reuters) - The largest Democratic field in the
modern U.S. political era is competing for the party's 2020
presidential nomination. 
    The diverse group of more than 20 vying to challenge
President Donald Trump, the likely Republican nominee, includes
seven U.S. senators. A record six women are running, as well as
black, Hispanic and openly gay candidates who would make history
if one of them becomes the party's nominee.
    Some candidates are beginning to gain traction while others
are still looking for their chance to break through.
    Two Republicans, including Trump, are also competing for
their party's nomination.

    DEMOCRATIC TOP TIER    
    Here are the Democrats who are ranked in the top eight in
the RealClearPolitics national polling average. 
    
    JOE BIDEN
    The leader in polls on Democratic presidential contenders,
Biden waited until late April to enter the race, launching his
bid by taking a direct swipe at Trump. Biden, 76, who served
eight years as vice president under President Barack Obama and
36 years in the U.S. Senate, enters in the middle of a
Democratic debate over whether a liberal political newcomer or a
centrist veteran is needed to win back the White House. Biden 
relishes his "Middle-Class Joe" nickname and touts his
working-class roots.
    
    BERNIE SANDERS
    The senator from Vermont lost the Democratic nomination in
2016 to Hillary Clinton but is making a second try. In the 2020
race, Sanders, 77, will have to fight to stand out in a packed
field of progressives touting issues he brought into the
Democratic Party mainstream four years ago. His proposals
include free tuition at public colleges, a $15 minimum wage and
universal healthcare. He benefits from strong name recognition
and a robust network of small-dollar donors. 
    
    ELIZABETH WARREN
    The 70-year-old senator from Massachusetts is a leader of
the party’s liberals and a fierce critic of Wall Street who was
instrumental in creating the Consumer Financial Protection
Bureau. She has focused her presidential campaign on her
populist economic message, promising to fight what she calls a
rigged economic system that favors the wealthy. She also has
proposed eliminating the Electoral College, breaking up tech
companies, and sworn off political fundraising events to collect
cash for her bid. 

    KAMALA HARRIS 
    The first-term senator from California would make history as
the first black woman to gain the nomination. Harris, 54, the
daughter of immigrants from Jamaica and India, announced her
candidacy on the holiday honoring slain civil rights leader
Martin Luther King Jr. She supports a middle-class tax credit,
Medicare for All healthcare funding reform, the Green New Deal
and the legalization of marijuana. Her track record as San
Francisco’s district attorney and California’s attorney general
has drawn scrutiny in a Democratic Party that has shifted in
recent years on criminal justice issues.
    
    PETE BUTTIGIEG 
    The 37-year-old mayor of South Bend, Indiana, emerged from
underdog status to build momentum with young voters. A Harvard
University graduate and Rhodes Scholar at the University of
Oxford, he speaks seven languages and served in Afghanistan with
the U.S. Navy Reserve. He touts himself as representing a new
generation of leadership needed to combat Trump. Buttigieg would
be the first openly gay presidential nominee of a major American
political party.      
        
    BETO O’ROURKE
    The former three-term Texas congressman jumped into the race
on March 14, and has been jumping on to store countertops ever
since to deliver his optimistic message to voters in early
primary states. O'Rourke, 46, gained fame last year for his
record fundraising and ability to draw crowds ahead of his
unexpectedly narrow loss in the U.S. Senate race against
Republican incumbent Ted Cruz. O'Rourke announced a $6.1 million
fundraising haul for the first 24 hours of his campaign, besting
his Democratic opponents. But with progressive policies and
diversity at the forefront of the party's nominating battle,
O'Rourke faces a challenge as a wealthy white man who is more
moderate on several key issues than many of his competitors.    
    
    CORY BOOKER
    Booker, 50, a senator from New Jersey and former mayor of
Newark, gained national prominence in the fight over Brett
Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination. Booker, who is black, has
made U.S. race relations and racial disparities a focus of his
campaign, noting the impact of discrimination on his family. He
embraces progressive positions on Medicare coverage for every
American, the Green New Deal and other key issues, and touts his
style of positivity over attacks. 
    
    AMY KLOBUCHAR
    The third-term senator from Minnesota was the first moderate
in the Democratic field vying to challenge Trump. Klobuchar, 59,
gained national attention in 2018 when she sparred with Brett
Kavanaugh during Senate hearings for his Supreme Court
nomination. On the campaign trail, the former prosecutor and
corporate attorney supports an alternative to traditional
Medicare healthcare funding and is taking a hard stance against
rising prescription drug prices. Klobuchar's campaign reported
raising more than $1 million in its first 48 hours. 
        
    TRYING TO BREAK THROUGH
    The field also includes many Democrats who are trying to
find a way to break through. Some hold public office and have
managed to generate an early fundraising base, while others are
still trying to raise their profile.
    
    JULIAN CASTRO
    The secretary of housing and urban development under
President Barack Obama would be the first Hispanic to win a
major U.S. party's presidential nomination. Castro, 44, whose
grandmother immigrated to Texas from Mexico, has used his
family’s personal story to criticize Trump's border policies.
Castro advocates a universal prekindergarten program, supports
Medicare for All and cites his experience to push for affordable
housing. He announced his bid in his hometown of San Antonio,
where he once served as mayor and a city councilman. His twin
brother, Joaquin Castro, is a Democratic congressman from Texas.
    
    BILL DE BLASIO
    The New York City mayor emerged as a progressive
standard-bearer in 2013, when he won the first of two four-year
terms at the helm of the country's biggest city on a platform of
addressing income inequality. But he has struggled amid middling
approval ratings and some political setbacks to build a national
profile. De Blasio, 58, can point to a number of policy wins in
New York, including universal prekindergarten, a higher minimum
wage and paid sick leave. He has called Trump a "bully" and a
"con artist" and criticized his administration's positions on
immigration, climate change and social welfare.
    
    KIRSTEN GILLIBRAND 
    Gillibrand, known as a moderate when she served as a
congresswoman from upstate New York, has refashioned herself
into a staunch progressive, calling for strict gun laws and
supporting the Green New Deal. The senator for New York, who is
52, has led efforts to address sexual assault in the military
and on college campuses, and she pushed for Congress to improve
its own handling of sexual misconduct allegations. On the
campaign trail, she has made fiery denunciations of Trump. She
released her tax returns for the years 2007 through 2018,
offering the most comprehensive look to date at the finances of
a 2020 White House candidate, and has called on her rivals to do
the same.
    
    TULSI GABBARD 
    The Samoan-American congresswoman from Hawaii and Iraq war
veteran is the first Hindu to serve in the U.S. House of
Representatives. After working for her father’s anti-gay
advocacy group and drafting relevant legislation, she was forced
to apologize for her past views on same-sex marriage. Gabbard,
37, slammed Trump for standing by Saudi Arabia after the murder
of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. She endorsed Bernie Sanders
during his 2016 presidential campaign.
    
    ANDREW YANG
    The entrepreneur and former tech executive is focusing his
campaign on an ambitious universal income plan. Yang, 44, wants
to guarantee all Americans between the ages of 18 and 64 a
$1,000 check every month. The son of immigrants from Taiwan,
Yang also is pushing for Medicare for All and proposing a new
form of capitalism that is “human-centered.” He lives in New
York.        
    
    JAY INSLEE 
    The Washington state governor has made fighting climate
change the central issue of his campaign. As governor, Inslee,
68, has moved to put a moratorium on capital punishment and
fully implement the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as
Obamacare, and accompanying expansion of Medicaid health
coverage for the poor. He has not settled on a position on
Medicare for All but does support the Green New Deal backed by
progressives. Inslee spent 15 years in Congress before being
elected governor in 2012.        
      
    TIM RYAN
    The moderate nine-term congressman from a working-class
district in the battleground state of Ohio has touted his appeal
to the blue-collar voters who fled to Trump in 2016. Ryan, 45,
pledges to create jobs in new technologies and to focus on
public education and access to affordable healthcare. He first
gained national attention when he unsuccessfully tried to unseat
Nancy Pelosi as the House Democratic leader in 2016, arguing it
was time for new leadership. A former college football player,
he also has written books on meditation and healthy eating.
        
    JOHN DELANEY
    The former U.S. representative from Maryland became the
first Democrat to enter the 2020 race, declaring his candidacy
in July 2017. Delaney, 56, plans to focus on advancing only
bipartisan bills during the first 100 days of his presidency if
elected. He is also pushing for a universal healthcare system,
raising the federal minimum wage and passing gun safety
legislation.
       
    JOHN HICKENLOOPER 
    The 67-year-old former Colorado governor has positioned
himself as a centrist and an experienced officeholder with
business experience. He is the only Democratic presidential
candidate so far to oppose the Green New Deal plan to tackle
climate change, saying it would give the government too much
power in investment decisions. During his two terms as governor,
Colorado’s economy soared and the Western state expanded
healthcare, passed a gun control law and legalized marijuana.
The former geologist and brew pub owner is among the many
candidates who have refused to take corporate money. He
previously served as mayor of Denver.
    
    STEVE BULLOCK
    The Democratic governor of Montana, re-elected in 2016 in a
conservative state that Trump carried by 20 percentage points,
has touted his electability and ability to work across party
lines. Bullock, 53, has made campaign finance reform a
cornerstone of his agenda, and emphasizes his success in forging
compromises with the Republican-led state legislature on bills
to expand Medicaid, increase campaign finance disclosures,
bolster pay equity for women and protect public lands.
        
    ERIC SWALWELL
    The third-term congressman from a district south of San
Francisco cited tackling student debt and gun violence among the
reasons he jumped into the Democratic primary race. Swalwell,
38, is among the younger candidates vying for the 2020
Democratic nomination. He served on the House Intelligence
Committee and founded the Future Forum, a group of more than 25
Democratic lawmakers that visits universities and community
colleges to discuss issues important to millennial voters like
student loan debt and climate change. 
            
    SETH MOULTON    
    An Iraq War veteran and member of Congress, Moulton, 40, was
first elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2014.
Moulton served in the Marines from 2001 to 2008. He became a
vocal critic of the Iraq War, saying no more troops should be
deployed to the country. He has advocated stricter gun laws,
saying military-style weapons should not be owned by civilians.
Moulton supports the legalization of marijuana and told a Boston
radio station in 2016 that he had smoked pot while in college.
After Democrats took control of the House in 2018, Moulton
helped organize opposition to Nancy Pelosi's bid to again become
speaker. 

    MICHAEL BENNET    
    Bennet, 54, who is serving his second full six-year term as
a senator for Colorado, has centered his political career on
improving the American education system. He previously ran
Denver's public schools. Bennet is not well known nationally,
but has built a network of political operatives and donors
helping elect other Democrats to the Senate. During the partial
U.S. government shutdown in January, he garnered national
attention criticizing Republicans for stopping the flow of
emergency funds to Colorado.    

    MIKE GRAVEL
    The 89-year-old former senator made a little-known run for
the Democratic nomination in 2008 and is taking another stab at
the White House. One of his top issues is advocating for direct
democracy, which would remove power from Congress and have
voters decide policy changes. Gravel represented Alaska in the
U.S. Senate from 1969 to 1981. He lost re-election in the 1980
race. Since leaving the Senate, Gravel worked in real estate and
finance. In 2008, after failing to gain any traction in the
Democratic contest, he also made an unsuccessful bid to be the
Libertarian nominee for president.
    
    WAYNE MESSAM
    Messam, 45, defeated a 16-year incumbent in 2015 to become
the first black mayor of the Miami suburb of Miramar. He was
re-elected in March. The son of Jamaican immigrants, he played
on Florida State University's 1993 national championship
football team, and then started a construction business with his
wife. He has pledged to focus on reducing gun violence,
mitigating climate change and reducing student loan debt and the
cost of healthcare.
    
    MARIANNE WILLIAMSON
    The 66-year-old New York Times best-selling author,
motivational speaker and Texas native believes her
spirituality-focused campaign can heal America. A 1992 interview
on Oprah Winfrey’s show propelled Williamson to make a name for
herself as a “spiritual guide” for Hollywood and a self-help
expert. She is calling for $100 billion in reparations for
slavery over 10 years, gun control, education reform and equal
rights for lesbian and gay communities. In 2014, she made an
unsuccessful bid for a House seat in California as an
independent.
    
    JOE SESTAK
    The retired three-star U.S. Navy admiral and former
congressman from Pennsylvania was the most recent entry in the
race, jumping in on June 23. Sestak, 67, highlighted his 31-year
military career and said he was running to restore U.S. global
leadership on challenges like climate change and China's growing
influence. Sestak, who lost two runs for a U.S. Senate seat in
Pennsylvania, said he delayed his entry in the race to "be
there" with his daughter as she successfully fought a recurrence
of brain cancer.
          
    THE REPUBLICANS
    President Trump is the clear favorite to win the Republican
nomination and there has been criticism among his opponents that
party leadership have worked to make it impossible for a
challenger, but he will still face at least one. 
    
    DONALD TRUMP      
    Serving in his first term, the 73-year-old real estate mogul
shocked the political establishment in 2016 when he successfully
secured the Republican nomination and then won the White House.
His raucous political rallies and prolific use of Twitter were
credited with helping him secure victory. After running as an
outsider, Trump is now focusing his message on the strong
economy and criticism of Democrats as he vies for re-election. 
    
    BILL WELD
    Former Massachusetts Governor William Weld is mounting a
long-shot bid to unseat Trump in the Republican primary. Weld
ran unsuccessfully for vice president in 2016 as a Libertarian.
He has been a persistent critic of Trump, saying when he
launched his 2020 campaign that "the American people are being
ignored and our nation is suffering."

    
 (Reporting by Ginger Gibson; additional reporting by Joseph Ax;
editing by Alistair Bell, Jonathan Oatis and Bernadette Baum)
  
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