2020 watch
August 14, 2019

Democratic presidential candidate John Hickenlooper is doing great in the polls — but for an entirely different race.

Hickenlooper, the moderate former governor of Colorado, is expected to end his 2020 presidential bid on Thursday, a person with knowledge of the matter told The Associated Press on Wednesday night. He has had a hard time raising money, and in some national polls, he registers zero percent support.

However, a poll released earlier this week of 600 Democratic primary voters in Colorado showed that if Hickenlooper decides to shift gears and run for Senate next year, he would have a huge lead over the Democrats now in the race — 61 percent of respondents said they preferred Hickenlooper, with only 10 percent supporting Mike Johnston and 8 percent backing Andrew Romanoff.

The Democrat who wins the primary will face off against Sen. Cory Gardner (R), considered the most vulnerable GOP senator up for re-election next year. Democratic pollster Geoff Garin said Hickenlooper's "massive lead" in the poll is "a function first and foremost of his personal popularity. Additionally, primary voters see Hickenlooper as the best candidate to defeat Republican Sen. Cory Gardner and help Democrats win a majority in the U.S. Senate, which the poll shows is a key priority for primary voters." Catherine Garcia

May 29, 2019

Former South Carolina Democratic Party Chairman Jaime Harrison announced on Tuesday night that he will run for Senate against Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.).

Harrison, now an official with the Democratic National Committee, told MSNBC's Rachel Maddow he will formally announce his candidacy on Wednesday morning. "What we are seeing with Lindsey Graham right now makes you question his character," he said, adding that he used to think Graham "was a statesman" able to "stand above the fray and help solve the issues. But I've seen that he's what George Will called 'a political windsock.'"

Graham, once one of President Trump's harshest critics, has transformed himself into one of his staunchest allies, and won re-election in 2014 by more than 15 points. Many people view South Carolina and other southern states as firmly red, but Harrison said Rep. Joe Cunningham (D-S.C.) winning in 2018 and Stacey Abrams coming close in the Georgia gubernatorial race shows times are changing. "We're on the verge of a renaissance in the South, a new South," he said. "I really hope people will help join me in this effort." Catherine Garcia

May 28, 2019

Rep. Seth Moulton (D-Mass.) on Tuesday revealed that after he returned home from serving in Iraq, he was treated for post-traumatic stress disorder.

Moulton, a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate and Marine veteran, said he wants people to know "they're not alone and they should feel empowered to get the treatment they need." Moulton also unveiled his plan to help veterans with mental health treatment, including requiring mandatory counseling for everyone returning from a combat deployment; adopting alternative therapies, including the use of cannabis; establishing a National Mental Health Crisis Hotline; and making mental health check-ups an annual event for active-duty service members and veterans.

Moulton's plan also calls for funding yearly mental health screenings for every high school student in the United States. "We must recognize mental health matters to everyone," he said. "Tens of millions of Americans deal with mental health conditions each year, including some of the most talented and accomplished people in the world. We owe it to our country to provide the best mental health care." Catherine Garcia

May 13, 2019

Former Vice President Joe Biden believes "we should take a really hard look at" breaking up large tech companies like Facebook, he revealed during an interview Monday with The Associated Press.

He is the latest 2020 Democratic presidential candidate to weigh in on the issue, with Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) leading the charge for more regulations. Warren has shown there's a "very strong case to be made for" cracking down on such companies, Biden said, adding that President Trump isn't doing much to enforce antitrust laws.

Regarding trade, Biden said he doesn't regret backing the North American Free Trade Agreement while he was a senator. "Fair trade is important," he said. "Not free trade. Fair trade. And I think that back in the time during the Clinton administration, it made sense at the moment."

He also told AP that should he get the nomination, when it comes time to pick a running mate, it has to be someone who shares "the same basic philosophic view of the world." If he doesn't receive the nomination but a Democrat wins the election, he wouldn't say no to working in their administration. "I learned a long time ago, don't rule out anything," Biden said. "If I can be helpful if I weren't the nominee, I would do whatever I could." Catherine Garcia

April 8, 2019

Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) announced on Monday's Late Show with Stephen Colbert that he is running for president.

Swalwell, 38, is the 18th Democrat to enter the 2020 race, and the third under 40. He's also the ninth sitting member of Congress to throw his hat in the ring, The Wall Street Journal notes. He was first elected to Congress in 2012, after serving on the city council in Dublin, California, and as an Alameda County prosecutor.

Swalwell told Colbert he sees "a country in quicksand, unable to solve problems and threats from abroad, unable to make life better for people at home. Nothing gets done." He's talked with teachers and truckers who "feel like they are just running in place and it's not adding up to anything," Swalwell said, as well as young people saddled with too much student loan debt and kids who are afraid of gun violence in their schools. "I'm ready to solve these problems," he declared. "I'm running for president of the United States. It's official." Catherine Garcia

March 14, 2019

Beto O'Rourke, the Democratic former congressman from El Paso, officially announced his candidacy for his party's 2020 presidential nomination on Thursday morning, throwing his hat into a crowded ring full of prominent Democrats. He had told local El Paso TV station KTSM he was entering the race in a text message Wednesday night and teased the decision in a new Vanity Fair profile.

O'Rourke rose to national prominence last year during his run to unseat Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), a race he narrowly lost. He has few big legislative accomplishments to his name and no signature proposal, but his success with raising money through small donations, ability to win over voters at town halls around Texas, and familiarity with the U.S.-Mexico border make him a potentially formidable contender.

"I want to be president because I feel that we can bring this country together," O'Rourke told the El Paso Times. "We can unify around our ambitions, our aspirations, the big things that we know we are capable of when all of us have the opportunity to contribute. ... I just want to serve this country so badly to the highest of my ability, and I believe that is serving as president of the United States." Peter Weber

March 13, 2019

Beto O'Rourke, the former congressman from El Paso, is expected to formally announce on Thursday that he is running for president in 2020, KTSM reports.

O'Rourke shared the news with KTSM, a television station in El Paso, via text on Wednesday afternoon. The Democrat rose to national prominence last year during his run for Senate against Republican Ted Cruz, a race he narrowly lost.

In an interview with Vanity Fair published Wednesday, O'Rourke said it was pretty clear that he did want to run, and he'd "be good at it." While it's "important to defeat Trump," he told the magazine, "that's not exciting to me. What's exciting to me is for the United States to lead the world, in making sure that the generations that follow us can live here."

When asked if he is a progressive, O'Rourke was careful in his answer. "I leave that to other people," he said. "I'm not into the labels. My sense in traveling Texas for the past two years, my sense is that people really aren't into them, either." Read the entire Vanity Fair interview to learn about O'Rourke's relationship with his late father, a DUI arrest, his family's opinion on a presidential run, and more. Catherine Garcia

March 2, 2019

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) officially launched his presidential campaign in his hometown of Brooklyn on Saturday.

"Thank you all for being part of a political revolution which is going to transform America," he told a crowd of supporters. "No, no, no, it is not Bernie, it is you. It is us together," Sanders continued as the crowd began chanting his name.

"And I want to thank you for being part of a campaign which is not only going to win the Democratic nomination, which is not only going to defeat Donald Trump — who is the most dangerous president in modern American history — but with your help we are going to transform this country and finally create an economy and a government which works for all of us, not just the 1 percent."

Sanders announced his candidacy for the 2020 Democratic primary in February and is scheduled to make his next campaign stop in Chicago on Sunday, where he is expected to discuss how his upbringing and education shaped his political views. Other major Democratic candidates include Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (Hawaii) and Sens. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.), Kamala Harris (Calif.), Cory Booker (N.J.), Amy Klobuchar (Minn.), and Kirsten Gillibrand (N.Y.).

Watch the livestream of Sanders' launch rally below. Bonnie Kristian

See More Speed Reads