2020 Presidential Election

Updated at 9:05 a.m. ET

Candidates seeking the Democratic presidential nomination took to the debate stage for the fifth time Wednesday night. There weren't any groundbreaking or game-changing moments, but here are five things that stood out:

1. Impeachment hearings may have taken some steam out of the debate

Let's face it: The biggest story of Wednesday was not the debate, it was the impeachment testimony of Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union.

Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg's team filed paperwork for a presidential run on Thursday — but he's not in the race yet.

While Bloomberg's team filed a statement with the Federal Election Commission on Thursday creating a presidential campaign committee, aides to Bloomberg say the move should not be viewed as a final decision or announcement.

The Democratic presidential primary has taken a back seat to the impeachment inquiry over the past few months, so it's fitting that the fifth candidate debate will take place on the same day that the most anticipated impeachment witness, Ambassador to the EU Gordon Sondland, testifies before the House Intelligence Committee.

But a lot more than the path to impeachment has changed since the Democratic candidates last gathered on the debate stage.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick is officially joining the 2020 Democratic presidential race less than three months before voters start casting ballots.

"I admire and respect the candidates in the Democratic field. They bring a richness of ideas and experiences and depth of character that makes me proud to be a Democrat. But if the character of the candidates is an issue in every election, this time is about the character of the country," Patrick said in an announcement video published online Thursday morning.

Klobuchar: Woman with Buttigieg's record would miss debate

Nov 13, 2019

CHICAGO (AP) — Sen. Amy Klobuchar says she and other top female presidential candidates wouldn't be on the debate stage if they had the same experience as Mayor Pete Buttigieg (BOO'-tuh-juhj).

The Minnesota Democrat said Sunday on CNN that she believes the 37-year-old mayor of South Bend, Indiana, is qualified but that she's the better candidate.

Klobuchar says, "I'm the one from the Midwest that has actually won in a statewide race over and over again." She says of the female candidates: "Maybe we're held to a different standard."

Updated at 6:10 p.m. ET

Former Texas Rep. Beto O'Rourke ended his presidential campaign on Friday after struggling to translate the energy from his 2018 Senate bid into a successful White House campaign.

"Our campaign has been about seeing clearly, speaking honestly and acting decisively in the best interests of America," O'Rourke wrote in a statement on Medium.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren has built a reputation as the presidential candidate with a plan for almost anything. Plans are her brand, so much so that her campaign shop sells T-shirts proclaiming "Warren has a plan for that."

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio ended his campaign for president on Friday morning, acknowledging that he was unable to successfully pitch his progressive ideas to the Democratic electorate.

"I feel like I have contributed all I can to this primary election. It's clearly not my time, so I'm going to end my presidential campaign," de Blasio said on MSNBC's Morning Joe.

De Blasio's exit makes him the sixth candidate to drop out of the field, bringing the total number of Democrats seeking the nomination to 19.

Former Texas Rep. Beto O'Rourke gave a staunch defense of his gun control plan during Thursday's Democratic presidential primary debate, saying that as president, he would prioritize mandatory buybacks of assault-style weapons.

Quoting the candidate's past comment about selling back AR-15s and AK-47s, moderator David Muir asked O'Rourke: "Are you proposing taking away their guns? And how would this work?"

O'Rourke answered, "Hell, yes, we're going to take your AR-15, your AK-47."

Here's more of what he said:

The fate of the filibuster — a 60-vote threshold for most legislation in the U.S. Senate — is again an issue of controversy among Democratic presidential candidates.

Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren said the supermajority requirement is preventing Congress from passing popular bills — such as a background check bill.

Once again, health care took up a large chunk of a Democratic primary debate. Once again, there were fights over costs, coverage and whether the party is growing too extreme.

But this time, all of the front-runners were onstage together, providing the first opportunity for all of them to take direct aim at each other and their vastly differing health care plans. It made for some heated exchanges, putting "Medicare for All" supporters on defense. But it also showed clearly that some candidates are cautious not to criticize others' proposals too harshly.

Heading into Thursday's Democratic presidential debate, the third this campaign season, we had five political questions.

Here are those questions and how they got answered:

More than 16 years after the U.S. invasion of Iraq, former Vice President Joe Biden is still struggling to explain his vote for the war and when his feelings about intervention evolved.

On Thursday night, during the third Democratic debate, which took place in Houston, Biden said he "never should have voted to give [President] Bush the authority to go in and do what he said he was going to do."

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September's Democratic presidential debate has been narrowed to one night only, as more candidates have called it quits altogether.

There are now less than five months to go before the first votes are cast in the Democratic presidential nominating contest. So the spotlight is going to be even hotter on the 10 candidates who made the cut for Thursday's debate in Houston. (Follow NPR's live analysis here.)

Donald Trump's immigration stances — family separation, a ban on immigrants from several majority-Muslim nations, the cancellation of the Deferred Action For Childhood Arrivals program, to name a few — have given Democrats much to criticize as the 2020 presidential election approaches.

It means that the Democratic candidates are pretty uniform in coming out hard against the president on immigration. However, they differ on the particulars of what policies they would like to put into place instead and, in many cases, have not articulated what they would do specifically.

Democrats running for president next year have worked hard to differentiate themselves from President Trump on issues such as immigration, tax cuts and health care. When it comes to trade, that hasn't been so easy.

Trump, after all, came to office as a fierce critic of U.S. trade policy, arguing that previous administrations had been duped into signing free trade agreements that had cost Americans millions of manufacturing jobs.

The current tally of 20 Democratic presidential hopefuls is enough to set a record in any previous primary season. But even with the giant number of candidates, the reality is that the winnowing has already begun.

The field is shrinking — slowly — but what's different this time compared to past campaigns is what's driving candidates to pack it in.

Here's what it's not — voters.

Many heads got scratched this week when President Trump doubled down on his erroneous claim that Alabama had been in the path of Hurricane Dorian.

Apparently relying on a map that warned of high winds, or another showing hypothetical paths for the storm, the president over the weekend insisted Alabama was "in the crosshairs." At midweek, sitting in the Oval Office, he held up a map on which someone using a marking pen had ballooned the area of actual hurricane threat to include Alabama.

New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand is the latest Democratic presidential candidate to drop out of the 2020 race.

She announced her exit Wednesday afternoon in a video posted on Twitter.

"It's important to know when it's not your time and to know how you can best serve your community and country," Gillibrand said. "I believe I can best serve by helping to unite us to beat Donald Trump in 2020."

Gillibrand thanked her volunteers and supporters in the video, saying "I'm so proud of this campaign and everything we've achieved."

The Sept. 12 Democratic debate stage is set with just 10 candidates, ensuring there will be a one-night event in which the front-runners will finally come face to face.

Back in April, things looked a little different in the Democratic presidential primary.

Elizabeth Warren's first-quarter fundraising was disappointing; she was eschewing big-money fundraisers, and her campaign was spending a lot — 87 cents of every dollar it was taking in on 160 or so staffers in early states.

The massive Democratic presidential field could begin its inevitable reduction this week with only half of the current candidates set to make the cut for next month's debate.

The controversial decision will please many party stalwarts who worry that the often dizzying number of Democrats seeking the nomination could endanger their chances of defeating President Trump.

Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper dropped his bid for president Thursday.

"Today, I'm ending my campaign for president. But I will never stop believing that America can only move forward when we work together," Hickenlooper tweeted.

He had been urged to run for Senate in Colorado, challenging Sen. Cory Gardner. In a video attached to his tweet, he said he would give that "serious thought" but made no announcement.

Stacey Abrams is not running for president, and says she will instead focus on extending voter protection programs throughout the country.

The Georgia Democrat, whose race for governor drew national attention, says she aims to enfranchise voters across 20 states with an initiative called Fair Fight 2020.

Entrepreneur Andrew Yang is the ninth Democrat to qualify for September's next presidential primary debates.

Yang crossed the threshold on Thursday after a Monmouth poll in Iowa put him at 2% support. He had previously hit the donor requirements of 130,000 unique donors from 20 different states. His campaign had said he qualified outright based on an earlier poll, but the Democratic National Committee said it wouldn't count that poll.

Buttigieg ramps up outreach to Democratic superdelegates

Aug 6, 2019
Wade Vandervort / Las Vegas Sun/Via AP

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Pete Buttigieg is ramping up his outreach to Democratic Party superdelegates with a phone call to them outlining the scope of his 2020 presidential campaign.

The outreach suggests Buttigieg's campaign is looking beyond the early primary states to the possibility of a convention fight for the nomination. Superdelegates, who include Democratic National Committee members, elected officials and other party dignitaries, have historically held an outsized influence over the nominating process.

Wednesday's Democratic presidential primary debate in Detroit was interrupted twice by protesters in the audience who were trying to draw attention to immigration and policing issues.

The first happened only minutes into the debate, which was broadcast live on CNN. During New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker's opening statement, a few audience members began yelling, "Fire Pantaleo."

Former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Cory Booker went head-to-head over their records on criminal justice on the second night of the Democratic presidential primary debate in Detroit.

This was a fight that had been brewing for a while. The New Jersey senator spent the past few weeks repeatedly criticizing Biden for his role, when he was a Delaware senator, in crafting the landmark 1994 crime law that many criminal justice reform activists identify as one of the major contributors to the swelling of the U.S. prison population.

Updated at 1:13 a.m. ET

Wednesday night, New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand blasted Joe Biden for a 1980s position on the child care tax credit and a comment he wrote about the "deterioration of the family."

Here's what Gillibrand said:

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