How Many Presidential Candidates Are There, Exactly?

It's a very crowded race.

Suit, Official, Speech, Businessperson, White-collar worker, Event, Spokesperson, Public speaking, Formal wear, Speaker,
(Image credit: Drew Angerer)

The landscape for the 2020 presidential election feels like it's changing literally every day, but—touch wood—we're in the final stretch of new candidates entering this (very tightly packed!) race. So how many presidential candidates are we looking at, as of this moment? Well, the number is by no means fixed, but as it stands, we're looking at 20 total candidates. That said, things are absolutely still in flux, and the remaining debates will be sure to weed out some of the presidential hopefuls.

Including incumbent President Donald Trump, there are 21 presidential candidates in total as of right now. There are currently 18 Democratic candidates, and two other Republican candidates.

The Democratic candidates are:

  • Michael Bennet
  • Joe Biden
  • Cory Booker
  • Steve Bullock
  • Pete Buttigieg
  • Julián Castro
  • John Delaney
  • Tulsi Gabbard
  • Kamala Harris
  • Amy Klobuchar
  • Wayne Messam
  • Beto O’Rourke
  • Tim Ryan
  • Bernie Sanders
  • Tom Steyer
  • Elizabeth Warren
  • Marianne Williamson
  • Andrew Yang

And the Republican candidates:

  • Mark Sanford
  • President Donald Trump
  • William Weld

An interesting aspect of the 2020 Democratic debates (of which there have been three rounds so far, with three more to go until the big day next November) are the strict requirements that decide which candidates can take part in the presidential debates. According to CBS News, "If more than 20 candidates qualify for the debate, the DNC has said it will choose participants with 'a methodology that gives primacy to candidates meeting both thresholds, followed by the highest polling average, followed by the most unique donors." In essence, whoever receives the most funding and polls the highest will secure podiums in the debates.

As the race to the Democratic nomination gets tighter and tighter, so do the conditions that determine whether they'll appear onstage. The fast-approaching October debate (scheduled for Tuesday October 15) will see 12 of the aforementioned Democrats taking the stage to share their policies, but for November, the threshold is even higher, and it's likely that the candidate pool will shrink even further as a result. In order to qualify for the fifth round of debates, candidates must receive at least 3 percent in four different DNC-approved polls and have 165,000 unique donors supporting their campaigns—including a minimum of 600 donors per state in at least 20 states, territories or the District of Columbia. Alternatively, they may also qualify by getting 5% in two approved polls in the early state primaries of battlegrounds like Iowa, South Carolina, New Hampshire, and Nevada.


Curious about the remaining candidates and their platforms? You can go here to take a look at some of their key issues, but keep in mind that the list will likely change drastically as the days go on. Watch this space!

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Katherine J. Igoe
Contributing Editor

Katherine’s a contributing syndications editor at Marie Claire who covers fashion, culture, and lifestyle. In her role, she writes stories that are syndicated by MSN and other outlets. She’s been a full-time freelancer for over a decade and has had roles with Cosmopolitan (where she covered lifestyle, culture, and fashion SEO content) and Bustle (where she was their movies and culture writer). She has bylines in New York TimesParentsInStyle, Refinery29, and elsewhere. Her work has also been syndicated by ELLEHarper’s BazaarSeventeenGood Housekeeping, and Women’s Health, among others. In addition to her stories reaching millions of readers, content she's written and edited has qualified for a Bell Ringer Award and received a Communicator Award. 

Katherine has a BA in English and art history from the University of Notre Dame and an MA in art business from the Sotheby's Institute of Art (with a focus on marketing/communications). She covers a wide breadth of topics: she's written about how to find the very best petite jeanshow sustainable travel has found its footing on Instagram, and what it's like to be a professional advice-giver in the modern world. Her personal essays have run the gamut from learning to dress as a queer woman to navigating food allergies as a mom. She also has deep knowledge of SEO/EATT, affiliate revenue, commerce, and social media; she regularly edits the work of other writers. She speaks at writing-related events and podcasts about freelancing and journalism, mentors students and other new writers, and consults on coursework. Currently, Katherine lives in Boston with her husband and two kids, and you can follow her on Instagram. If you're wondering about her last name, it’s “I go to dinner,” not “Her huge ego,” but she responds to both.