Here's a roundup of the Democratic presidential candidates
These profiles were compiled by Ballotpedia, which obtained information from the candidates' campaigns and national media reports.
Candidates participating in Wednesday's debate
Cory Booker represents New Jersey in the U.S. Senate. Booker's early campaign messaging has focused on unity and finding commonality by addressing inequality and racial discrimination. On the campaign trail, Booker has highlighted the following policy positions: supporting the Green New Deal, ending private prisons and other criminal justice initiatives, and lowering prescription drug costs. Before serving in the U.S. Senate, Booker was the mayor of Newark, New Jersey, and a city councilman. He also worked at the Urban Justice Center and in private practice.
Julian Castro is a former mayor of San Antonio. He emphasized education when announcing his candidacy. He said he achieved universal preschool in San Antonio during his five years as mayor and would do the same nationally. Castro has also promoted Medicare for All and housing affordability on the campaign trail. Castro served as the U.S. secretary of housing and urban development during the Obama administration.
Bill de Blasio is the mayor New York City. In a video announcing his presidential campaign, de Blasio highlighted establishing a $15 minimum wage, paid sick leave, mental health services, and universal pre-K as policy issues he has addressed. Before being elected mayor of New York City, de Blasio served as the New York City public advocate and on the New York City Council. De Blasio also managed Hillary Clinton's 2000 New York Senate campaign.
John Delaney represented Maryland in the U.S. House from 2013 to 2019. Delaney's campaign motto is Focus on the Future, and he is running to address issues primarily related to globalization, automation, and technology. He has also made cooperation and bipartisanship a major focus of his campaign, including a pledge to work only on bipartisan proposals during his first 100 days as president. Before his congressional career, Delaney founded two New York Stock Exchange companies, as well as Blueprint Maryland, a nonprofit organization focused on the creation of jobs in Maryland's private sector.
Tulsi Gabbard represents Hawaii in the U.S. House. Gabbard has highlighted her noninterventionist foreign policy and military experience as a veteran of the Iraq War on the campaign trail. "When it comes to the war against terrorists, I'm a hawk. When it comes to counterproductive wars of regime change, I'm a dove," Gabbard said. In 2012, she became the first Hindu elected to Congress. She previously served in the Hawaii House of Representatives and on the Honolulu City Council. Gabbard has been deployed on two tours of duty in the Middle East.
Jay Inslee is the governor of Washington. Inslee called climate change the pillar of his campaign. "I'm running for president because I am the only candidate who will make defeating climate change our nation's number one priority," he said when announcing his candidacy. Inslee proposed developing industries around this initiative, including building electric cars, installing wind turbines, and establishing solar energy sources across the nation. Inslee previously served in the Washington state legislature and the U.S. House.
Amy Klobuchar represents Minnesota in the U.S. Senate. Klobuchar announced several focuses of her campaign, including automatic voter registration, reducing the amount of money in politics, and reinstating climate regulations that were eliminated by the Trump administration. Before joining the Senate, Klobuchar was a partner at the law firms of Dorsey & Whitney and Gray Plant Mooty.
Beto O'Rourke represented Texas in the U.S. House from 2013 to 2019. In his first campaign video, O'Rourke discussed "investing in the dignity of work," establishing universal health care, and combating climate change. He also said of immigration, "If immigration is a problem, it's the best possible problem for this country to have and we should ensure that there are lawful paths to work, to be with family, and to flee persecution." He ran for U.S. Senate against GOP incumbent Ted Cruz in 2018, losing by 2 percentage points. O'Rourke also previously served on the El Paso City Council.
Tim Ryan represents Ohio in the U.S. House. Ryan said he would focus manufacturing jobs, keeping jobs in the United States, and moving toward emerging technology. "I understand that legacy of job loss. I understand where we need to go. The country is so divided right now that we can't get a plan together. The first thing we have to do is unify," Ryan said. He unsuccessfully challenged Nancy Pelosi for House speaker in 2016. Before joining Congress, Ryan was a member of the Ohio state Senate.
Elizabeth Warren represents Massachusetts in the U.S. Senate. Warren has focused her campaign on economic issues, including proposing a wealth tax on the wealthiest 75,000 families to partially fund universal child care, student loan debt relief, the Green New Deal, and Medicare for All. Before joining the Senate, Warren helped establish the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau under the Obama administration. She also served as the chair of the Congressional Oversight Panel for the Troubled Asset Relief Program. Warren worked as a law professor for three decades at several universities, including the University of Pennsylvania and Harvard University.
Candidates participating in Thursday's debate
Michael Bennet represents Colorado in the U.S. Senate. Before joining the Senate, Bennet was the superintendent of Denver Public Schools. Bennet earlier worked as chief of staff to then-Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper, who also is running for president, at an investment firm and as an attorney with the U.S. Department of Justice. Bennet has focused his run on the themes of expanding economic opportunity and promoting integrity in government. In his campaign kickoff video, Bennet said he would support introducing an opt-in government-run health insurance system, tax cuts for families with children, and increased spending on education.
Joe Biden was vice president of the U.S. during the Obama administration. He framed his campaign as a challenge to President Donald Trump. "I believe history will look back on four years of this president and all he embraces as an aberrant moment in time. But if we give Donald Trump eight years in the White House, he will forever and fundamentally alter the character of this nation -- who we are -- and I cannot stand by and watch that happen," he said. Biden represented Delaware in the U.S. Senate from 1973 to 2009, where he chaired the Senate Judiciary Committee and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for several years.
Pete Buttigieg is the mayor of the South Bend, Indiana. Buttigieg has focused his campaign on policy issues that he's implemented as mayor, such as connecting with the global economy through investing in advanced industries, data, technology, and higher education. Before he was elected mayor, Buttigieg worked as a consultant for McKinsey and Co. He is a lieutenant in the Navy Reserve and served a seven-month deployment in Afghanistan.
Kirsten Gillibrand represents New York in the U.S. Senate. Gillibrand has focused her campaign on economic and social issues, including addressing sexual assault in the military, health care for 9/11 first responders, increasing transparency in politics, Medicare for All, and universal paid family leave. Before joining the Senate, Gillibrand worked as an attorney, law clerk, campaign staffer, and special counsel to the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. She also represented New York's 20th Congressional District in the House from 2007 to 2009.
Kamala Harris represents California in the U.S. Senate. She has focused her campaign on economic issues, including universal pre-K, debt-free college, a tax cut for working- and middle-class families of up to $500 a month, and Medicare for All. Harris was the attorney general of California from 2011 to 2017 and the district attorney of San Francisco from 2004 to 2011. Harris worked as an attorney in both the Alameda County district attorney's office and the San Francisco district attorney's office.
John Hickenlooper is a former governor of Colorado. Hickenlooper has emphasized his tenure as governor, including developing methane emissions laws with environmentalists and oil and gas companies, expanding Medicaid in the state, and pushing through gun control legislation that limited the sale of certain gun magazines and expanded background checks. He has also presented himself as both ready to challenge President Donald Trump and capable of earning bipartisan support. Before he became governor, Hickenlooper was the mayor of Denver for nearly eight years. He also opened 15 brew pubs and restaurants in several states.
Bernie Sanders represents Vermont in the U.S. Senate. He is an independent running for the Democratic presidential nomination, which he also sought in 2016. Sanders has focused his campaign on economic issues, including Medicare for All, the Green New Deal, a $15 minimum wage, expanding the estate tax, limiting the size of banks, and tuition-free college. Before joining the Senate, Sanders lectured at Harvard University and Hamilton College in New York, in addition to working as a carpenter and a journalist. He was the mayor of Burlington, Vermont, from 1981 to 1989 and a member of the U.S. House from 1991 to 2007.
Eric Swalwell represents California in the U.S. House. Swalwell's policy proposals include a national and mandatory buyback of military-style semi-automatic assault weapons (exempting law enforcement agencies and gun clubs) and universal background checks for weapons and ammunition purchases. He has also called for no-interest federal student loans, debt-free college for work-study students, and increased investment in curing diseases like ALS and Alzheimer's. Swalwell served on the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and was the ranking member of Subcommittee on the CIA in the 115th Congress. Swalwell previously was a member of the Dublin town council and served as the deputy district attorney for Alameda County, California.
Marianne Williamson is a lecturer and author who has written 12 books, including four New York Times bestsellers. She said she wants to bring a moral and spiritual awakening to the United States with her candidacy. She supports Medicare for All, the Green New Deal, and $100 billion in reparations for slavery. Williamson said that U.S. foreign policy and national security "should be based more on efforts to wage peace than on efforts to prepare for war." Williamson ran to represent the 33rd Congressional District of California as an independent candidate in 2014.
Andrew Yang founded Venture for America, a nonprofit organization that trains recent graduates and young professionals to work for startup companies across the country. The cornerstone of Yang's platform is the universal basic income. Yang describes the UBI as "a form of social security that guarantees a certain amount of money to every citizen within a given governed population, without having to pass a test or fulfill a work requirement." Yang's UBI proposal is a payment of $1,000 per month for every adult American citizen. He has written two books: "Smart People Should Build Things" in 2014 and "The War on Normal People: The Truth About America's Disappearing Jobs and Why Universal Basic Income Is Our Future" in 2018. He also worked for a health care startup, founded a national education company, and practiced law as a corporate attorney.
Other Democrats in the race
Steve Bullock is the governor of Montana. Bullock released a video on social media focused on his Montana roots, work on campaign finance law, and efforts to collaborate with both Democrats and Republicans as governor. Before he was elected governor in 2012, Bullock served a single term as state attorney general. He previously worked as an attorney in the offices of the state attorney general and secretary of state.
Wayne Messam is the mayor of Miramar, Florida. In March he announced he was forming an exploratory committee to run for president. The focus of Messam's campaign would be canceling $1.5 trillion in student debt, according to an aide. "I think that [the] American dream is slipping away for most Americans," Messam said. "Americans are not getting their needs met." Messam has served as mayor of Miramar, a city of 150,000, since 2015. Before that he was a city commissioner.
Seth Moulton represents Massachusetts in the U.S. House. He is a Marine Corps veteran who served four tours in Iraq between 2003 and 2008 and was among the first groups of American soldiers to reach Baghdad during the 2003 invasion. Moulton was one of the Democratic members of the U.S. House that voted against Nancy Pelosi's selection as speaker, and his campaigns have regularly called for new leadership both within the party and in Washington. ABC News noted that he is "no stranger from straying from party leadership." While announcing his campaign on Good Morning America on April 22, Moulton said he is "not a socialist. I'm a Democrat. And I want to make that clear. Maybe that's a differentiator in this race."