Mystery delay hits the Iowa caucus results

Iowa Democratic caucus fiasco: Results are DELAYED after new app to report results is ‘a mess’ and party holds crisis talks with candidates as it conducts ‘quality’ checks over fears of mistakes

  • The Iowa caucuses began at  7pm Central – 8pm Eastern – with Bernie Sanders ahead in polls but by a tiny margin
  • There is concern the result could be difficult to call because of the system in use which will reveal two numbers: who gets the most delegates, and how the votes are shared
  • There was strong interest in the caucuses, with Polk County, the largest area and home to Des Moines, printing extra voter registration paperwork 
  • Because of the complicated system it is possible for the person with the most delegates to not have the largest share of vote – so more than one campaign could declare itself winner 
  • Entrance poll results showed that defeating Donald Trump is top of the list of concerns for caucus-goers
  • Health care is the most important single issue with six in 10 backing single-payer public healthcare, and nine in ten Medicare for all – the poll allowed them to express support for both 
  • Sanders is the first 2020 Democratic hopeful who will officially earn delegates in the Iowa caucuses 
  • Sanders got the support of 14 of 15 caucus-goers in Ottumwa, who participated in a ‘satellite’ caucus at noon because of their work schedules 
  • The voters were mainly Ethiopian immigrants who work at a nearby pork processing plant 
  • One lone participant backed Sen. Elizabeth Warren, though she won’t get delegates from this site because she didn’t have 15 per cent support  

Monday night’s Iowa caucuses have hit a snafu as results were delayed coming in. 

Caucusing around the state started at 7pm Central Standard Time. Three hours later, not a single precinct’s results were officially in.    

Technology may be at fault.  

Des Moines County Chair Tom Courtney told the Associated Press that an app created to report caucus results to the Iowa Democratic Party was ‘a mess’ and organizers were having to call in the results to the party.  

The Iowa Democratic Party said results haven’t been posted as they’re assuring ‘quality control.’ 

CNN reported that party officials are meeting with representatives from the campaigns. 

There appeared to be strong – if not record-breaking – interest as the caucuses got under way. 

Organizers of a precinct site in downtown Iowa City said the start of the caucus had to be delayed by more than an hour, as hundreds of people were still waiting to check in or register to vote. Inside the Englert Theatre near the University of Iowa, 500 first-floor seats were mostly full and organizers were opening an additional 200 seats in the balcony.

In Polk County, Iowa’s largest county and home to the capital city, Des Moines, Democratic county party chairman Sean Bagniewski said the party had printed tens of thousands of extra voter registration forms but some precincts were running out.

‘We’re making copies and deliveries to get them covered, but this caucus is gonna be the big one,’ Bagniewski tweeted.

About 170,000 turned out in 2016. The high-water mark for the contest was the 2008 Iowa Democratic caucuses, when nearly 240,000 participated and Barack Obama defeated Hillary Clinton and John Edwards. 

The caucuses come as Sen. Bernie Sanders’ campaign seems to be gaining steam, while that of Vice President Joe Biden – long considered the party’s frontrunner – sputters.  

Sanders ascent already has the party establishment fearing that the self-proclaimed democratic socialist will tank Democrats’ chances to retake the White House from President Trump, who won by small margins in 2016 via the Electoral College, while Democrat Hillary Clinton won the popular vote.  

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The count is on: The crowd at Drake University, Des Moines, during the first round of ‘alignment’ – when caucus-goers choose their candidates. The candidates who did not get to 15% are dropped for the second round and their supporters get to choose among those who were

Sorted out: The crowd at Drake University back by candidate in the first round with a count then taking place

Second round under way: Joe Biden’s supporters canvas for more among Pete Buttigieg supporters

Won’t you be my caucus-goer? At Algona High School in Algona, Elizabeth Warren was not ‘viable’ meaning her supporters were free to back other candidates in the second round, with Amy Klobuchar supporter Keith Dwire trying to persuade Warren backer Jo Morgan

Down – but is he out? A left-over Joe Biden sign at the Drake University Olmsted Center in Des Moines

Fired up: Elizabeth Warren uses a bullhorn at Roosevelt High School in Des Moines. She went in to the race behind Bernie Sanders in the polls

Please get behind me: Elizabeth Warren addresses her and Bernie Sanders’ supporters at Roosevelt High School, Des Moines

Someone’s with her: Elizabeth Warren greets a supporter at a caucus in Des Moines. In common with other candidates she toured multiple venues as people voted

Show of support: Joe Biden’s supporters show who they back at Drake University in Des Moines

No enthusiasm gap: Bernie Sanders’ supporters get ready for the caucus to become an exercise in persuasion

Ready to go: Caucus-goers in a fire station in Kellogg, wait to show their support for the candidates

Ready for the caucus: At Hoover High School, voters headed to the basketball court to show their support for their favored candidate

Support on show: An Elizabeth Warren supporter makes her position clear at a caucus at Roosevelt High School, Des Moines

Can I count on you? Elizabeth Warren speaks to voters – and one of their children – at a Des Moines caucus

Feeling the Bern: A Sanders volunteer is ready to persuade fellow Iowans at the Maple Grove Methodist Church in Des Moines

How it works: The Kellogg fire station is ready with locals asked to line up under their first preference. Anyone who backs a candidate under 15% is then asked to move to one of the candidates who scored over 15%. 

Here to vote: Registration at Roosevelt High School in Des Moines, just before the 7pm starting point for the caucus

Ready for Bernie: Volunteers prepare to try to persuade caucus-goers that they should back their candidate, who is ahead by a tiny margin in the polls

Sen. Bernie Sanders was back in Washington Monday as the caucuses in Iowa got underway. He was the first winner of delegates thanks to meat packing workers in Ottumwa who backed him 14-1 versus Sen. Elizabeth Warren 

Read for Joe: Biden’s campaign is concerned about the rise of Bernie Sanders, with one of his closest allies, former Secretary of State John Kerry, unleashing a foul-mouthed tirade against the socialist

Bernie Sanders won the support of 14 out of the 15 caucus-goers at the ‘satellite’ caucus in Ottumwa, Iowa Monday at noon. The group was largely Ethiopian immigrants who work at a nearby pork processing plant

The Real Clear Politics polling average on Monday showed Sanders with a 4 point lead over the former vice president.  

One especially important poll – from the Des Moines Register and CNN – had to be scrapped on Saturday over an error in administering the survey.       

But the system of reporting results brings its own potential for confusion: the Iowa Democratic Party will release the breakdown of how many delegates candidates have obtained, and also the underlying raw data – which could allow multiple campaigns to claim ‘victory.’

Sanders had already won the first delegates of the Iowa caucus, largely thanks to a group of Ethiopian-American immigrants who work at a pork processing plant. 

The Intercept reported Monday that at a satellite caucus site in Ottumwa, Iowa – about an hour and a half southwest of Des Moines – 14 of 15 caucus-goers selected Sanders as their choice. 

A lone participant backed Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who wasn’t viable at this caucus location because she didn’t amass 15 per cent of those gathered.   

As caucus-goers arrived, the issue of defeating President Donald Trump in November’s election was at the top of their minds  according to preliminary findings by the National Election Pool (NEP).

The NEP, a consortium of news organizations including Reuters that runs election-day polling through Edison Research, found most caucus-goers were simply looking for a winner instead of someone who agrees with them on the issues.

Among the key findings were:  

  • Six in 10 caucus-goers said they were looking for a Democratic nominee who they think can beat Trump. About four in 10 said they wanted a nominee who agrees with them on major issues.
  • Three in 10 said they were attending the Iowa caucuses for the first time, which appears to be below that of 2016. Four years ago, 44% of people attending the Iowa caucuses said they were doing so for the first time. In 2008, 57% said they were new to the Iowa caucuses.
  • Nearly a third of Democrats said before entering the caucuses that they picked their candidate in the last few days. That appears to be higher than the number of late deciders in 2016. Four years ago, 16% of caucus-goers said they had made their choice in the last month or earlier.
  • Healthcare was the issue that mattered most to Iowa caucus-goers. About four in 10 said that was the issue they cared most about when thinking about picking a nominee. Two in 10 said it was the climate, another two in 10 said it was income inequality and one in 10 said it was foreign policy.
  • The entrance poll also asked Democrats about which candidate they were supporting for the nomination. The selections are not predictive of the outcome, however, given that many Democrats will change their preferences if their chosen candidate does not win enough support in the caucuses. 

At caucus sites across the state, volunteers were in place for hours before the start of voting. There were a few early caucuses outside the state, the furthest known one in the former Soviet republic of Georgia. 

Officially, it was also the first Iowa caucus and held in the capital Tbilisi, over traditional Iowan fare – pizza with ranch dressing, according to reporter Joshua Kucera, who was on-site. 

Other caucus locations include Glasgow, Scotland, Brooklyn, New York, Washington, D.C. and several places in Florida and California, among others. ed.  

Monday’s caucuses mark the first official votes of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary after more than a year in the making.   

Sanders’ late polling uptick has spooked the Democratic establishment.  

The most dramatic example of party fears being expressed came from an overheard phone call from former Secretary of State John Kerry, in the Hawkeye State as a surrogate for Biden. Kerry was the Democrats’ 2004 nominee and lost. 

NBC News reported Sunday that Kerry was workshopping what he could do to get into the 2020 race because of ‘the possibility of Bernie Sanders taking down the Democratic Party – down whole.’ 

‘Maybe I’m f***ing deluding myself here,’ Kerry said. 

Once the story came out, Kerry denied that he was mulling a 2020 bid in an expletive-laden tweet, which he later deleted, posting a cleaner version. 

Iowa polls have shown Sanders and Biden neck-and-neck, though have given the Vermont senator a slight edge. 

The Real Clear Politics polling average on Monday showed Sanders with a 4 point lead over the former vice president.  

How to understand the Iowa Caucuses (and why there may be more than one ‘winner’) 

The Iowa caucuses  are essentially small local meetings where neighbors and strangers stand up to show their support for a particular candidate, and to persuade others to join them. Iowa’s 41 national delegates are up for grabs, but the real stakes for the candidates are all about momentum.

The caucuses are the first opportunity for Democrats to express their preferences in what´s been a long and tumultuous primary. They set the tone for the monthlong sprint through the early primary states, after which the field of candidates is typically culled. The winner usually receives a boost in media attention and fundraising that can propel them through subsequent contests. An unexpectedly bad performance, meanwhile, can hobble a candidate.

Attendees hold letters reading Caucus during a campaign event in Coralville, Iowa

The caucuses don´t always pick the eventual nominee, but for Democrats they´ve been more predictive – every winner since 2000 has gone on to become the Democratic nominee. And historically, they´ve been known to catapult underdog candidates´ campaigns to prominence – like they did with Barack Obama in 2008, or Jimmy Carter in 1976.


The caucuses begin at 7 p.m. CST on Monday. Democrats gather in school gymnasiums, union halls and community centers – known in caucus parlance as precincts. There are 1,678 precincts in Iowa this year and an additional 99 satellite precincts, which are for caucuses held outside of the state or at different times of the day and in locations that may be more accessible to those with disabilities or those who have to work during the main event.

Some precincts could have hundreds of Iowans show up, and some may have fewer than 10. The 2008 Democratic caucuses set a record when nearly 240,000 Iowans turned out; this year, party operatives are expecting turnout to be big, but likely not record-breaking.

Any registered Democrat who will be 18 by election day can participate, which includes 17-year-olds with an upcoming birthday. And Iowans can newly register or switch their party registration at their caucus site the day of – so campaigns have been courting disaffected Republicans and new voters across Iowa.


There are essentially two rounds of voting in the caucuses.

When all the caucusgoers at a precinct have signed in, the attendees elect a caucus chair, who directs the proceedings. Representatives of the campaigns have an opportunity to stand up and give a last-minute pitch for their candidate, and then the caucuses begin, with a process known as the ‘first alignment.’

That´s where attendees gather in the designated area for their favored candidate. In most precincts, any candidate that receives the support of 15% of the people in the room is considered ‘viable’ and moves on to the next round of voting. Caucusgoers who chose a viable candidate on their first round are locked in and can´t choose a new candidate on the second.

Democratic presidential candidate former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg’s shadow is cast on the Iowas state flag in Coralville, Iowa

Supporters of candidates who didn´t meet that threshold, however, have four options: They can support a viable candidate, or join with supporters of another non-viable candidate close to 15% support to get them to viability. Alternately, they can try to entice supporters of other non-viable candidates over to theirs to get them over the threshold. Or, they can go home.

This part of the caucuses – known as realignment – is the most crucial, and typically the most chaotic, portion of the night. Well-organized campaigns have volunteers, staffers and surrogates working the room, trying to win over caucusgoers from opposing campaigns. It´s part of the reason why having staff and surrogates who know their area and have built a community there is so important for the campaigns.

At the end of realignment, the caucus chair takes a final count of the room, and transmits the numbers to the Iowa Democratic Party.

Changes from 2016 will allow for additional reporting of caucus results


The results in each precinct are used by the Iowa Democratic Party to calculate what´s known as the ‘state delegate equivalent,’ or how many delegates each candidate gets at the Iowa Democratic Party convention. That number ultimately translates to how many of Iowa´s 41 national delegates each candidate gets at the national convention.


For the first time, caucusgoers will record their choices on a slip of paper, which they´ll sign to certify their support. The caucus leaders will collect those presidential preference cards and turn them into the Iowa Democratic Party, and they´ll be used if any candidate requests a recount.

This year, there are only two rounds of alignment, rather than the multiple rounds in years past, and supporters of a viable candidate after the first alignment are locked in to that candidate. In previous caucuses, every attendee could choose a new candidate on each realignment.

The satellite caucuses are new, and the Iowa Democratic Party is allowing attendees to check in early rather than at their precinct site, a move aimed to cut down on the long lines and wait times in years past.

But the biggest change is the change in how the Iowa Democratic Party will report its results. Previously, they only released the state delegate equivalent numbers; now, they´re releasing the raw totals from the first and second alignments, as well as the state delegate equivalents.

The Associated Press will be deciding the winner based on state delegate equivalents – but with more data being released, the campaigns have signaled they plan to spin the numbers in their favor, whatever the eventual result.

 – Associated Press

This is how they do it: Caucus goers fill in preference cards as a permanent record of votes

What counts: At the West Des Moines Christian Church, an election official counts up support 

To young to back me: Elizabeth Warren greets a young supporter at Roosevelt High School, Des Moines

Rivals: A Joe Biden and a Pete Buttigieg precinct captain go head to head at Maple Grove Methodist Church in West Des Moines. The two moderates are both behind Bernie Sanders

Read for Buttigieg: The former South Bend, Indiana, mayor, has his supporters ready to push for support in Roosevelt High School 

Something to show for it: One voter was knitting her way through the caucus at Maple Grove Methodist Church in West Des Moines

Sen. Amy Klobuchar seems to be benefiting from late-breaking Iowa voters. She’s shot up in the polls in the past week and her events are attracting crowds numbered in the hundreds 

For months, former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg has also had a strong showing in the Hawkeye State – meaning Monday night’s caucuses could end up being a five-way split 


Preliminary results from AP VoteCast, a survey of 2,795 voters conducted for The Associated Press by NORC at the University of Chicago.


About 8 in 10 Iowa caucusgoers expressed anger toward the Trump administration. Beating Trump in November, along with providing strong leadership, outranked other qualities as most important in a nominee. More than 8 in 10 Democratic caucusgoers said it was very important the party´s nominee can defeat Trump. Close to as many said they find it highly important to nominate someone who will be a strong leader.


Three-quarters of likely caucusgoers said it’s very important their choice for the Democratic nominee cares about people like them, while nearly two-thirds said it’s very important the party´s nominee have the best policy ideas.

Six in 10 Democratic voters said it was very important the Democratic nominee will work across party lines. Fewer Democrats – about half – placed significant importance on a nominee who has the ‘right experience.’ 


Roughly 4 in 10 likely caucusgoers identified health care as their top issue. Seven in 10 supported a proposed single-payer health care plan, which would change the health care system so that all Americans receive insurance from a government plan instead of private insurance plans.

At the same time, nearly 9 in 10 favor the proposal for an optional government plan that any Americans could buy into if they wanted.

A wide share – about 6 in 10 – expressed support for either plan, but roughly a quarter favored ‘Medicare for All’ and opposed ‘Medicare for all who want it.’ Only about 1 in 10 expressed the opposite opinions, in favor of a public option but opposed to a single-payer system.


Along with health care, climate change was identified as the top issue facing the country by 3 in 10 Iowa voters.

Recent polls also show Sen. Amy Klobuchar, a Minnesota Democrat, gaining steam – as a number of late-breaking Iowa voters are flocking her way. 

Additionally, Sen. Elizabeth Warren and South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg have, for months, had strong interest from voters in the state – meaning it could be a five-way race.  

On top of that, the way the Democrats caucus in Iowa is unique. 

Once the Democrats are inside the caucus location they gather in groups with their candidate of choice. Candidate must have a threshold of 15 per cent to be viable, so a lot of politicking happens each caucus night – making the results incredibly difficult to predict.  

This year, too, the number of initial supporters who came out for each candidate will be reported publicly.  

Candidates like Andrew Yang, who has been polling under 15 per cent the whole time, could point to the original vote total to prove that the campaign has enough support to continue on.   

In the past, Iowa has been where many a campaign died. 

One example, was Biden’s 2008 effort. While he came in fifth place in the caucuses, because of the 15 per cent rule his vote total only amounted to 1 per cent. He dropped out the day after. 

Impeachment has also cast an odd spell over the run-up to the caucuses this year.             

It kept three leading contenders – Sanders, Warren and Klobuchar – off the ground for days at a time. 

The fourth U.S. senator running for president, Colorado’s Michael Bennet, has bypassed Iowa and has been focusing on New Hampshire, which holds a primary next week.  

Warren’s campaign made-do by deploying her 20-month Golden Retriever Bailey, escorted by her husband Bruce Mann, to campaign stops last week. 

Bailey even took over Warren’s famous selfie lines once the Massachusetts senator was back in state, so she could cover more ground.  

Sanders’ campaign utilized his wife Jane and a number of buzzy surrogates including the three so-called ‘Squad’ members who’ve backed his campaign. 

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez hosted campaign events one weekend Sanders was away, while Reps. Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar came to Iowa this past weekend.  

The newly-divorced Omar even brought her boyfriend, who also recently split from his spouse.  

Tlaib’s decision to encourage a crowd of Sanders supporters in Clive, Iowa Friday night to boo the Democrats’ 2016 nominee Clinton showed more splinters in the party. 

By Saturday morning, Tlaib was walking back her actions.  

Clinton has popped her head back into the fray to disparage Sanders, who was her primary rival last cycle. 

In a documentary, she said of Sanders: ‘Nobody likes him, nobody wants to work with him, he got nothing done. He was a career politician.’ 

‘It’s all just baloney and I feel so bad that people got sucked into it,’ the ex-Democratic nominee added. 

She’s said more recently that she still stands by those comments. 

Overall, 11 Democrats are currently running for president. 

Former Rep. John Delaney – who was the first Democrat to announce his bid – dropped out Friday and encouraged Iowa voters to back a moderate choice. 

His campaign bus has been repurposed to promote D.C. statehood on the day of the caucuses. 

Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is skipping the first caucus and primary states, focusing on races on March 3 – dubbed ‘Super Tuesday’ for how many states vote. 

The other billionaire in the race, Tom Steyer, campaigned across Iowa, but is only averaging 3 per cent support in the polls.  



Age on Inauguration Day 2021: 56

Entered race:  May 2, 2019

Career: Currently Colorado senator.  Educated at elite St. Albans preparatory school and was a Capitol Hill page before graduating Wesleyan and Yale Law School. Was law clerk and worked in Clinton’s Department of Justice then moved to Colorado in 1997 as managing director of billionaire Philip Anschutz’s investment company. Was chief of staff to Denver mayor John Hickenlooper, then superintendent of Denver Public schools. Appointed to vacant Colorado Senate seat in 2009, held it 48.1 to 46.4 in 2010 and 50 to 44.3 in 2016

Family: Married to environmental attorney Susan Daggett, with three daughters – Halina, Anne and Caroline. Was born in New Delhi while to diplomat father Douglas Bennet, who went onto be CEO of NPR and a Clinton assistant secretary of state. His grandfather, also Douglas, was an economic adviser to FDR. Mother Susanne is retired elementary school librarian whose parents were Holocaust survivors. Brother James is editor of the New York Times opinion section

Religion: Says he was raised with Jewish and Christian heritage; no known adherence

Views on key issues: Moderate who does not endorse Medicare for all or – so far – Green New Deal. Strongly pro-choice and pro-gay rights, leading to 2010 Senate victory. Pro raising minimum wage. Wants citizenship pathway for ‘dreamers.’ 

Would make history as: First Colorado president

Slogan: Building Opportunity Together 


Age on Inauguration Day 2021: 78

Entered race: April 25, 2019

Career: No current role. A University of Delaware and Syracuse Law graduate, he was first elected to Newcastle City Council in 1969, then won upset election to Senate in 1972, aged 29. Was talked out of quitting before being sworn in when his wife and daughter died in a car crash and served total of six terms. Chaired Judiciary Committee’s notorious Clarence Thomas confirmation hearings. Ran for president in 1988, pulled out after plagiarism scandal, ran again in 2008, withdrew after placing fifth in the Iowa Caucuses. Tapped by Obama as his running mate and served two terms as vice president. Contemplated third run in 2016 but decided against it after his son died of brain cancer.

Family: Eldest of four siblings born to Joe Biden Sr. and Catherine Finnegan. First wife Neilia Hunter and their one-year-old daughter Naomi died in car crash which their two sons, Joseph ‘Beau’ and Robert Hunter survived. Married Jill Jacobs in 1976, with whom he has daughter Ashley. Beau died of brain cancer in 2015. Hunter’s marriage to Kathleen Buhle, with whom he has three children, ended in 2016 when it emerged Hunter was in a relationship with Beau’s widow Hallie, mother of their two children. Hunter admitted cocaine use; his estranged wife accused him of blowing their savings on drugs and prostitutes

Religion: Catholic

Views on key issues: Ultra-moderate who will emphasize bipartisan record. Will come under fire over record, having voted: to stop desegregation bussing in 1975; to overturn Roe v Wade in 1981; for now controversial 1994 Violent Crime Act; for 2003 Iraq War; and for banking deregulation. Says he is ‘most progressive’ Democrat. New positions include free college, tax reform, $15 minimum wage. No public position yet on Green New Deal and healthcare. Pro-gun control. Has already apologized to women who say he touched them inappropriately

Would make history as: Oldest person elected president

Slogan: Our Best Days Still Lie Ahead


Age on Inauguration Day: 78

Entered race: November 24, 2019

Career: Currently multi-billionaire CEO of Bloomberg PL, the financial information firm he founded in 1981 and which remains a private company. Educated at Johns Hopkins and Harvard, he became a Wall Street trader at investment bank Salomon Brothers and was laid off in 1981, walking away with $10m in stock which he used to set up his own financial information firm, now one of the world’s largest. Three times mayor of New York 2002 to 2013, running first as Republican then as independent; had to get term limits suspended for final term. Once flirted with running for mayor of London where he has a home; holds an honorary knighthood from Queen Elizabeth. Has spent large amounts on philanthropy in line with his political views as well as on political campaigns

Family: Born in Brookline, MA, to first-generation Jewish immigrant parents whose own parents had fled Russia. Divorced wife of 18 years, Susan Brown-Meyer, in 1993; former couple have daughters Emma, who has a son with her former boyfriend, and Georgina, who has daughter Zelda with her husband Chris Fissora. The child has a portmanteau surname, Frissberg. Partner since 2000 is Diana Taylor, former New York state banking commissioner, 13 years his junior

Religion: Jewish

Views on key issues: Self-professed fiscal conservative, although painted as a Democratic moderate by other conservative groups. Opposed to Medicare for all. Social progressive who backed gay marriage early, but has flip-flopped on marijuana legalization, most recently opposing it.. Wants firm action on climate change. Fiercely in favor of gun control. As New York mayor banned smoking in public places and tried to outlaw large sugary drinks. Backs increased immigration. Apologized for his stop-and-frisk policing strategy as mayor

Would make history as: Oldest person elected president; first Jewish president; richest president ever; first New York mayor to become president

Slogan:  Fighting For Our Future


Age on Inauguration Day: 39

Entered race: Announced formation of exploratory committee January 23, 2019. Formally entered race April 14, 2019

Career: Currently mayor of Sound Bend, Indiana. Harvard grad and Rhodes scholar who got a second degree from Oxford before working as a McKinsey management consultant and being commissioned as a Navy Reserve intelligence officer. Elected South Bend mayor in 2011 and served in combat in 2013, won re-election in 2015

Family: Came out as gay during second mayoral run and married husband Chasten Glezman, a middle school teacher in 2018. Parents were University of Notre Dame academics; his father was Maltese-American. Surname is pronounced BOOT-edge-edge

Religion: Raised as a Catholic, now Episcopalian

Views on key issues: Has said Democratic party needs a ‘fresh start’; wrote an essay in praise of Bernie Sanders aged 17; backed paid parental leave for city employees; other policies unknown 

Would make history as: First openly gay and youngest-ever president. First veteran of post-World War II conflict 

Slogan: A Fresh Start For America


Age on Inauguration Day: 39

Entered race: Still to formally file any papers but said she would run on January 11 2019

Career: Currently Hawaii congresswoman. Born on American Samoa, a territory. Raised largely in Hawaii, she co-founded an environmental non-profit with her father as a teenager and was elected to the State Legislature aged 21, its youngest member in history. Enlisted in the National Guard and served two tours, one in Iraq 2004-2006, then as an officer in Kuwait in 2009. Ran for Honolulu City Council in 2011, and House of Representatives in 2012

Family: Married to her second husband, Abraham Williams, a cinematographer since 2015. First marriage to childhood sweetheart Eduardo Tamayo in 2002 ended in 2006. Father Mike Gabbard is a Democratic Hawaii state senator, mother Carol Porter runs a non-profit.

Religion: Hindu

Views on key issues: Has apologized for anti-abortion and anti-gay marriage views; wants marijuana federally legalized; opposed to most U.S. foreign interventions; backs $15 minimum wage and universal health care; was the second elected Democrat to meet Trump after his 2016 victory

Would make history as: First female, Hindu and Samoan-American president; youngest president ever

Slogan: Lead with Love 


Age on Inauguration Day: 60

Entered race: Announced candidacy February 10, 2019 at snow-drenched rally in her native Minneapolis

Career: Currently Minnesota senator. Yale and University of Chicago law graduate who became a corporate lawyer. First ran unsuccessfully for office in 1994 as Hennepin, MI, county attorney, and won same race in 1998, then in 2002, without opposition. Ran for Senate in 2006 and won 58-38; re-elected in 2012 and 2018

Family: Married to John Bessler, law professor at University of Baltimore and expert on capital punishment. Daughter Abigail Bessler, 23, works fora Democratic member of New York City council. Father Jim, 90, was a veteran newspaper columnist who has written a memoir of how his alcoholism hurt his family; mom Rose is a retired grade school teacher

Religion: Congregationalist (United Church of Christ)

Views on key issues: Seen as a mainstream liberal: says she wants ‘universal health care’ but has not spelled out how; pro-gun control; pro-choice; backs $15 minimum wage; no public statements on federal marijuana legalization; has backed pro-Israel law banning the ‘boycott, divestment and sanctions’ movement; spoke out against abolishing ICE

Would make history as: First female president

Slogan: Let’s Get To Work


Age on Inauguration Day: 63

Entered race: Told friends he was running on November 13, 2019

Career: Currently a managing director of Bain Capital. Awarded scholarship in eighth grade to Massachusetts boarding school Milton Academy, becoming first in his family to go to college.  Harvard law grad who twice failed the bar before working for NAACP then private practice where he represented Mike Tyson’s rape victim Desiree Washington. Assistant attorney general for civil rights in Clinton administration then Texaco and Coca-Cola and sub-prime lender Ameriquest executive. Ran for Massachusetts governor as outside candidate in 2006 and won, becoming first African-American in role, won a second term 48-42.

Family: Born in Chicago, his jazz musician father Pat Patrick left mother Emily Wintersmith when he was three when he fathered a Patrick’s half-sister with another woman. Patrick married wife Diane Bemus, an attorney, in 1984; they have two adult daughters, Sarah and Katherine. Sarah is married to a former Italian soldier Marco Morgese; their son Gianluca is the Patricks’ first grandchild. Katherine came out as lesbian in 2008 and married Alisha Lemieux in 2016. 

Religion: Presbyterian 

Views on key issues: Moderate who championed social liberal policies and embraced Obamacare. Boosted transportation spending and increased state gas taxes to pay, speaking out against climate change. Unclear where he stands on Medicare for All and Green New Deal. Pro-gun control, proposing ban on multiple gun sales after Sandy Hook.

Would make history as: No obvious claim 

Slogan: To be announced 


Age on Inauguration Day: 79

Entered race: Sources said on January 25, 2019, that he would form exploratory committee. Officially announced February 19

Career: Currently Vermont senator. Student civil rights and anti-Vietnam activist who moved to Vermont and worked as a carpenter and radical film-maker. Serial failed political candidate in the 1970s, he ran as a socialist for mayor of Burlington in 1980 and served two terms ending in 1989, and win a seat in Congress as an independent in 1990. Ran for Senate in 2006 elections as an independent with Democratic endorsement and won third term in 2018. Challenged Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination in 2016 but lost. Campaign has since been hit by allegations of sexual harassment  – for which he has apologized – and criticized for its ‘Bernie bro’ culture

Family: Born to a Jewish immigrant father and the daughter of Jewish immigrant parents in Brooklyn, New York. First marriage to college sweetheart Deborah Shiling Messing in 1964 ended in divorce in 1966; had son Levi in 1969 with then girlfriend Susan Cambell Mott. Married Jone O’Meara in 1988 and considers her three children, all adults, his own. The couple have seven grandchildren. His older brother Larry is a former Green Party councilor in Oxfordshire, England. 

Religion: Secular Jewish 

Views on key issues: Openly socialist and standard bearer for the Democratic party’s left-turn. Wants federal $15 minimum wage; banks broken up; union membership encouraged; free college tuition; universal health care; re-distributive taxation; he opposed Iraq War and also U.S. leading the fight against ISIS and wants troops largely out of Afghanistan and the Middle East

Would make history as: Oldest person elected president; first Jewish president

Slogan: Not me. Us.


Age on Inauguration Day 2021: 63

Entered race: July 9, 2019

Career: Currently retired. New York-born to wealthy family, he was educated at elite Phillips Exeter Academy, same as rival Andrew Yang, and Yale, then Stanford Business School. Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs banker who founded his own hedge fund in 1986 and made himself a billionaire; investments included subprime lenders, private prisons and coal mines. Stepped down in 2012 to focus on advocating for alternative energy. Longtime Democratic activist and donor who started campaign to impeach Trump in October 2017. Net worth of $1.6 billion has made him one of the Democrats’ biggest single donors

Family: Married Kathryn Taylor in 1986; they have four adult children who have been told they will not inherit the bulk of his fortune. Announced last November he and his wife would live apart. Father Roy was a Nuremberg trials prosecutor

Religion: Episcopalian

Views on key issues: On the left of the field despite being a hedge fund tycoon. Backs single-payer health care, minimum wage rises and free public college. Previously spoke in favor of Bernie Sanders’ agenda. Aggressive backer of climate change action, including ditching fossil fuels

Would make history as: Richest Democratic president ever

Slogan: Actions Speak Louder Than Words 


Age on Inauguration Day: 71

Entered race:  Set up exploratory committee December 31, 2018

Career: Currently Massachusetts senator. Law lecturer and academic who became an expert on bankruptcy law and tenured Harvard professor. Ran for Senate and won in 2012, defeating sitting Republican Scott Brown, held it in 2018 60% to 36%. Was short-listed to be Hillary’s running mate and campaigned hard for her in 2016

Family: Twice-married mother of two and grandmother of three. First husband and father of her children was her high-school sweetheart. Second husband Bruce Mann is Harvard law professor. Daughter Amelia Tyagi and son Alex Warren have both been involved in her campaigns. Has controversially claimed Native American roots; DNA test suggested she is as little as 1,064th Native American

Religion: Raised Methodist, now described as Christian with no fixed church

Views on key issues: Was a registered Republican who voted for the party but registered as a Democrat in 1996. Pro: higher taxes on rich; banking regulation; Dream Act path to citizenship for ‘dreamers’; abortion and gay rights; campaign finance restrictions; and expansion of public provision of healthcare – although still to spell out exactly how that would happen. Against: U.S. presence in Afghanistan and Syria; liberalization of gambling

Would make history as: First female president 

Slogan: Warren Has A Plan For That


Age on Inauguration Day: 46

Entered race: Filed papers November 6, 2018

Career: No current job. Went to public school in New York where he describes being bullied with racial slurs, then elite Phillips Exeter Academy boarding school – same as rival Tom Steyer. Brown and Columbia Law graduate who abandoned career as an attorney then started a dotcom flop then become healthcare and education tech executive who set up nonprofit Venture for America

Family: Married to wife Evelyn with two sons, one of whom he has said is on the autism spectrum. His parents were both immigrants from Taiwan who met at the University of California, Berkeley, as grad students

Religion: Reformed Church

Views on key issues: Warns of rise of robots and artificial intelligence, wants $1,000 a month universal basic income and social media regulated. Spoke out against male circumcision. Wants a state monitor to crack down on ‘fake news.’

Would make history as: First Asian-American president 

Slogan: Humanity First


CORY BOOKER, New Jersey Senator 

Entered race: February 1, 2019

Quit: January 13, 2020 

STEVE BULLOCK, Montana governor 

  • Entered race: May 14, 2019 
  • Quit: December 2, 2019

JULIÁN CASTRO, former Housing Secretary

  • Entered race: January 18, 2019
  • Quit: January 2, 2020 


  • Entered race: January 16, 2019
  • Quit: August 28, 2019

BILL DE BLASIO, New York City mayor 

  • Entered race: May 16, 2019
  • Quit: September 20, 2020

JOHN DELANEY, former Maryland Congressman

  • Entered race: July 8, 2017
  • Quit: January 31, 2019 

MIKE GRAVEL, Former Alaska governor

  • Entered race: April 2,2019
  • Quit: August 2, 2019 

KAMALA HARRIS,California senator  

  • Entered race: January 21, 2019
  • Quit: December 3, 2019 

JOHN HICKENLOOPER, Former Colorado governor

  • Entered race: March 4, 2019
  • Quit: August 15, 2019 

JAY INSLEE, Washington governor 

  • Entered race: March 1, 2019
  • Quit: August 21, 2019

WAYNE MESSAM, mayor of Miramar, Florida 

  • Entered race: March 28, 2019
  • Quit: November 20, 2019 

SETH MOULTON, Massachusetts congressman

  • Entered race:  April 22,2019
  • Quit: August 23, 2019

RICHARD OJEDA, former West Virginia state senator

  • Entered race: November 12, 2018
  • Quit: January 25, 2019 

BETO O’ROURKE, former Texas congressman

  • Entered race: March 14, 2019 
  • Quit: November 1, 2019  

TIM RYAN, Ohio congressman

  • Entered race: April 4, 2019
  • Quit: October 24, 2019

JOE SESTAK, former Pennsylvania congressman 

  • Entered race: June 23, 2019
  • Quit: December 1, 2019

ERIC SWALWELL, California congressman

  • Entered race: April 8, 2019
  • Quit: July 8, 2019  


  • Entered race: November 15, 2018
  • Quit: January 10, 2020 


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