By Jim Ellis
March 7, 2019 — Three prominent potential Democratic presidential candidates, almost in unison, just said they would not join the 2020 campaign. Two of the decisions were expected, but the third was a surprise.
Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who had hired a staff, was in the process of designing a presidential campaign logo, and planning an announcement tour to begin in his birthplace city of Medford, Mass., said late Tuesday afternoon that he would not seek the presidency in 2020. Instead, he will devote his efforts to founding a new organization entitled, “Beyond Carbon,” with the goal of virtually ending America’s reliance on oil, gas, and coal by the year 2050. He said he believes, through this group, that he can best help to defeat President Trump.
Former secretary of state, US senator, First Lady, and 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton also confirmed that she will not be a candidate next year but will remain active on the political scene. This result was more expected even though speculation had increased recently that she might again become a presidential candidate.
Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR), another potential presidential candidate, announced that he will seek a third term in the Senate, which kills any chance of his entering the presidential campaign. His fate was virtually sealed when leaders of his own party, including Gov. Kate Brown (D-OR), refused to change Oregon election law to allow an individual to simultaneously run for more than one office.
The Bloomberg move could have an effect on the overall campaign and may be a signal that former Vice President Joe Biden will soon be entering the race. Reports suggest that Bloomberg believed his path to the party nomination involved appealing to the more centrist element of the Democratic Party, a segment where Biden is strong.
The former mayor indicated he believed his path to the nomination was a narrow one. He clearly assumed that Biden would be in the race, thus preventing the Bloomberg campaign from attracting large numbers of less liberal primary voters, though he felt his chances of unseating President Trump in the general election were strong.
At this point, 42 different individuals have either announced for president, formed an exploratory committee, confirmed they are considering running, or have ruled themselves out of the competition. They are (all names listed alphabetically):
IN or Exploring (13)
- Cory Booker – US Senator (New Jersey)
- Pete Buttigieg – Mayor (South Bend, Indiana)
- Julian Castro – Former HUD Secretary (Obama Administration)
- John Delaney – Ex-US Congressman (Maryland)
- Tulsi Gabbard – US Congresswoman (Hawaii)
- Kirsten Gillibrand – US Senator (New York)
- Kamala Harris – US Senator (California)
- John Hickenlooper – Former Governor and Mayor (Colorado; Denver)
- Jay Inslee – Governor (Washington)
- Amy Klobuchar – US Senator (Minnesota)
- Bernie Sanders – US Senator (Vermont)
- Elizabeth Warren – US Senator (Massachusetts)
- Andrew Yang – Entrepreneur
- Stacey Abrams – Ex-State House Minority Leader; 2018 Georgia Governor Nominee
- Michael Bennet – US Senator (Colorado)
- Joe Biden – Former Vice President; ex-US Senator (Delaware)
- Sherrod Brown – US Senator (Ohio)
- Steve Bullock – Governor (Montana)
- Bill de Blasio – Mayor (New York City)
- Andrew Gillum – Former Mayor (Tallahassee); 2018 Florida Gubernatorial Nominee
- John Kerry – Ex-Secretary of State; Fmr US Senator (Massachusetts); 2004 Presidential Nominee
- Mitch Landrieu – Former Mayor (New Orleans); Ex-Lieutenant Governor (Louisiana)
- Terry McAuliffe – Former Governor (Virginia); Ex-Chairman, DNC
- Wayne Messam – Mayor (Miramar, Florida)
- Seth Moulton – US Congressman (Massachusetts)
- Beto O’Rourke – Ex-Congressman (Texas); ’18 Senate Nominee (Texas)
- Tim Ryan – US Congressman (Ohio)
- Eric Swalwell – US Congressman (California)
Within this group, Biden, Brown, McAuliffe, and O’Rourke are the most likely to enter with potential of advancing into the top tier.
- Michael Avenatti – Attorney
- Michael Bloomberg – Ex-Mayor (New York City); Media Company Founder
- Bob Casey Jr. – US Senator (Pennsylvania)
- Hillary Clinton – Ex-Secretary of State; Ex-US Senator (New York)
- Andrew Cuomo – Governor (New York)
- Eric Garcetti – Mayor (Los Angeles)
- Eric Holder – Former US Attorney General (Obama)
- Tim Kaine – US Senator (Virginia); 2016 Vice Presidential Nominee
- Jeff Merkley – US Senator (Oregon)
- Christopher Murphy – US Senator (Connecticut)
- Richard Ojeda – State Senator (West Virginia); 2018 US House Nominee
- Martin O’Malley – Former Governor (Maryland)
- Deval Patrick – Former Governor (Massachusetts)
- Tom Steyer – Billionaire Businessman; Political Activist