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Democratic Party Presidential Primaries, 2020
January 1, 2020-May 13, 2020
256px-Bernie Sanders John Bel Edwards
Nominee Bernie Sanders John Bel Edwards
Home state Vermont Louisiana
Electoral vote 628 593
States carried 12 9
Popular vote 5,018,060 5,400,088
Percentage 25.3% 27.2%
Martin O'Malley by Gage Skidmore (cropped) Michael Bennet Official Photo
Nominee Martin O'Malley Michael Bennett
Home state Maryland Colorado
Electoral vote 509 473
States carried 0 3
Popular vote 4,830,251 3,850,055
Percentage 24.4% 19.4%

The 2020 Democratic Party presidential primaries and caucuses were a series of electoral contests organised by the Democratic Party to select the 4,763 delegates to the Democratic National Convention held June 22-25 and determine the nominee for President of the United States in the 2030 U.S. presidential election. The elections took place within all fifty U.S. states, the District of Columbia, and five U.S. territories and occurred between February 1 and June 14, 2016. The convention also approved the party's platform and vice-presidential nominee. The Democratic nominee challenged other presidential candidates, including incumbent President Donald Trump, in an attempt to win the Presidential Election and get sworn in as the 46th President of the United States at noon on January 20, 2021.

A total of eleven major candidates entered the race starting July 28,2017, when then-Representative John Delaney formally announced his bid for the presidency. He was followed by New Jersey Senator Cory Booker, former Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley, Senator Amy Klobuchar, former Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe, California Senator Kamala Harris, Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards, Colorado Senator Michael Bennett, Hawaii Governor Colleen Hanabusa, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, who ran for President in 2016 but was defeated by Hillary Clinton, and Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal. Former Vice President Joe Biden heavily considered a third run but eventually chose against it. A draft movement was started to encourage Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren to seek the presidency, but Warren declined to run. Prior to the Iowa caucuses on January 1, 2020, John Delaney and Kamala Harris withdrew from the race due to low polling numbers. Cory Booker withdrew to focus on his re-election bid.

Candidates

Currently in the race

  1. Bernie Sanders - US Senator from Vermont
  2. Martin O'Malley - Former Governor of Maryland

Withdrew during the primaries

  1. John Bel Edwards - Governor of Louisiana (Withdrew Feb. 25, 2020; Endorsed Bernie Sanders)
  2. Michael Bennett - US Senator from Colorado (Withdrew Feb. 20, 2020; Endorsed Bernie Sanders)
  3. Amy Klobuchar - US Senator from Minnesota (Withdrew Feb. 1, 2020; Endorsed Michael Bennett then Bernie Sanders)
  4. Terry McAuliffe - Former Governor of Virginia (Withdrew Jan. 29, 2020; Endorsed John Bel Edwards then Bernie Sanders)
  5. Colleen Hanabusa - Governor of Hawaii (Withdrew Jan. 25, 2020; Endorsed Bernie Sanders)
  6. Richard Blumenthal - US Senator from Connecticut (Withdrew Jan. 10, 2020; Endorsed Bernie Sanders)

Withdrew before the primaries

  1. Kamala Harris - US Senator from California (Withdrew Dec. 4, 2019l Endorsed Bernie Sanders)
  2. John Delaney - Former US Representative from Maryland (Withdrew Nov. 1, 2019; Endorsed Michael Bennett then Martin O'Malley)
  3. Cory Booker - US Senator from New Jersey (Withdrew Oct. 5, 2019; Endorsed Bernie Sanders)

Timeline

Background

In the weeks following the defeat of Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election, media speculation regarding potential candidates for the Democratic presidential nomination in the 2020 presidential election began to circulate. The speculation centred on the prospects of Sanders, Senator from Vermont, making a second presidential bid in the 2020 election. Sanders had previously served as a U.S. Representative for Vermont (1991-2007) and was the Mayor of Burlington (1981-1989). A January 2019 Washington Post–ABC News poll indicated that she had high popularity among the American public. This polling information prompted numerous political pundits and observers to anticipate that Sanders would mount a second presidential bid in 2020, entering the race as the early front-runner for the Democratic nomination.

On August 3, 2019, Michael Bennett officially announced his run as a presidential candidate for the Democratic nomination, after an informal announcement on April 30 and speculation since mid 2018. In January 2019, Senator Cory Booker formed an exploratory committee for a Presidential bid, announcing in March of that year. Kamala Harris was also considering a Presidential bid, and had made formal steps to run for President in mid 2019. In August of 2019, Governor of Hawaii Colleen Hanabusa, fresh from her Gubernatorial victory in 2018, announced her bid for President, campaigning on a platform of statehood for the territories and DC. Former Governor of Virginia Terry McAuliffe announced his bid for President as a pro-gun Democrat and former Governor of Maryland Martin O'Malley announced his bid for President in August as well. In Early September, Governor of Louisiana John Bel Edwards announced his bid for President in a campaign rally. Later that week, Bernie Sanders and Richard Blumenthal officially announced their bids for President. On September 17, 2019, Amy Klobuchar announced her bid for President, making her the last major candidate to announce her bid for President.

Three debates were scheduled prior to the Iowa Caucuses. The first debate was scheduled for October 23, 2019 in Dubuque, Iowa. The second debate was scheduled for November 28, 2019 in Manchester, New Hampshire. The third debate was scheduled for December 15, 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Cory Booker withdrew on October 5, 2019 after a petition in New Jersey for him to end his Presidential campaign got 1 million signatures. On November 1, 2019, John Delaney ended his bid for President after the Dubuque debate failed to increase his poll numbers. On December 4, 2019, Kamala Harris ended her bid for President. She fell in the polls after the Manchester debate from 7% to 3%.

Early Primaries

Bernie Sanders started out with a significant lead in Iowa. However, Michael Bennett gained ground after the debates, asking, "What has Bernie Sanders ever done for Iowa?" which Bernie Sanders stumbled his answered to. Despite Sanders leading in the final polling average, Michael Bennett won by 1.5%. Sanders made up for it by winning New Hampshire by 7 points over former Maryland governor Martin O'Malley, with Bennett getting third and John Bel Edwards fourth. Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal ended his campaign after performing worse than expected in New Hampshire. Sanders got back at Bennett by defeating him in Nevada, showing he can be competitive in Bennett's home turf. Colleen Hanabusa needed to secure at least 10% of the vote here, however she failed to do so. She hoped to recover on Super Tuesday, but fumbled a debate question in South Carolina, where she said that anyone in the territories who didn't support her had Stockholm Syndrome. This caused her to lose ground, mostly to Bernie Sanders and Martin O'Malley. She ended up dropping out two days before the South Carolina primary. In South Carolina, John Bel Edwards proved his campaign was still relevant. However, Terry McAuliffe was not so lucky. He had hoped for at least 5% of the vote, which he didn't get, and he dropped out due to his poor performance.

Results

Total

Candidate Home State Votes Percentage Delegates
Bernie Sanders Vermont 5,018,060 25.3% 628
John Bel Edwards Louisiana 5,400,088 27.2% 593
Martin O'Malley Maryland 4,830,251 24.4% 509
Michael Bennett Colorado 3,850,055 19.4% 473
Amy Klobuchar (withdrew) Minnesota 42,926 4.5% 92
Terry McAuliffe (withdrew) Virginia 34,414 0.2% 5
Colleen Hanabusa (withdrew) Hawaii 7,869 0.1% 4
Richard Blumenthal (withdrew) Connecticut 6,925 >0.01% 3

Iowa

Candidate Home State Votes Percentage Delegates
Michael Bennett Colorado 1,364 30.67% 16
Bernie Sanders Vermont 1,297 29.17% 15
John Bel Edwards Louisiana 682 15.33% 8
Martin O'Malley Maryland 549 12.35% 6
Amy Klobuchar Minnesota 227 5.1% 3
Richard Blumenthal Connecticut 161 3.61% 2
Terry McAuliffe Virginia 116 2.62% 1
Colleen Hanabusa Hawaii 51 1.15% 0
Total 4,448 100% 51