Just the Facts

Five Facts on the 2020 Presidential Field

By Emma Petasis
February 22, 2019 | Blog

Here are five facts on the 2020 presidential field.

In the 2016 presidential election, the average announcement date was June 3, 2015.

The 2020 election has seen an unprecedented number of candidates announce at this point in the election cycle.  In fact, in the 2016 and 2012 presidential elections, not a single candidate had announced this far out from the election.  Interestingly, history teaches that in many cases it is more advantageous to wait, as every contested primary winner over the past decade and a half had not announced at this point in the cycle. President Trump announced his candidacy on June 16, 2015, Mitt Romney, the winner of the 2012 Republican primary, announced on June 2, 2011, and John Kerry, the winner of the 2004 Democratic primary waited until Sept. 2, 2003 to announce his candidacy. Former President Barack Obama is the only candidate to announce similarly early, having announced his bid on Feb. 10, 2007. 

While 12 Democrats have already announced their candidacies, more than a dozen are still considering a bid.

Undoubtedly the most prominent Democrat remaining on the sidelines is former Vice President Joe Biden, who would immediately become the front-runner upon entering the race.  There are, however, several other national Democratic figures with legitimate chances at winning the Democratic nomination, including Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown, former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke, and former Attorney General Eric Holder. 

Several Democrats have pulled in record fundraising hauls in the days following their announcements.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), the runner-up in the Democratic primary in 2016, announced his campaign had raised $5.9 million from 223,000 donors within the first 24 hours of his announcement. This impressive sum  far surpasses the next most prolific fundraiser, Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), who pulled in $1.5 million in the first 24 hours.  Other candidates who have announced their initial fundraising hauls include Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), who amassed $299,000 in the first 24 hours and Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), who took in $1.5 million in the first 48 hours.

When it comes to polls, former Vice President Biden remains the clear front-runner in the Democratic field.

Despite Sen. Sanders’ strong fundraising numbers, the former vice president, who has yet to formally announced his candidacy, still holds a strong lead in numerous polls. According to a recently released Morning Consult Poll, 30% of Democratic primary voters would support Biden. Sanders comes in second with 21%, while Harris rounds out the top three with 11%. When it comes to early primary states – Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, or Nevada – the numbers stay about the same. Biden remains in front with 33%, Sanders comes in second with 22%, but notably Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren comes in third with 11%, jumping over Harris who falls to 10%.   

Several Republicans have either announced or hinted at their intention to mount a primary challenge against President Trump.

While much of the 2020 speculation has revolved around the Democratic primary, there have been rumors that several anti-Trump Republicans could launch primary challenges against the president. Former Libertarian presidential candidate and former governor of Massachusetts Bill Weld became the first Republican to openly challenge the president, announcing his candidacy for president on January 15. In addition, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan and former Ohio Gov. John Kasich have also been mentioned as potential primary challengers. All have publicly voiced their opposition to President Trump in the past.

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