What Experience Would President ____ Bring?
Experience of Current and Former 2020 Democratic Presidential Candidates

Former Vice President

Former Cabinet Secretary

J.Castro/ HUD

Governors (Current and Former)
S.Bullock (MT)
J.Inslee (WA)
D.Patrick (MA)

U.S. Senators

M.Bennet (CO) C.Booker (NJ) K.Gillibrand (NY) K.Harris (CA) A.Klobuchar (MN) B.Sanders (VT) E.Warren (MA)
And J.Biden served more than three decades in the Senate.

U.S Representatives (Current and Former)

J.Delaney (MD)
T.Gabbard (HI) S.Moulton (MA)
B.O'Rourke (TX)
T.Ryan (OH) E.Swalwell (CA)
have served in the House. 


P.Buttigieg (IN) B.de Blasio (NY)
W.Messam (FL)
C.Booker (Newark, NJ)
J.Castro (San Antonio, TX)
 B.Sanders (Burlington, VT)
have served as Mayors.

State Legislator

Private Sector
A.Yang T.Steyer
also have significant (non-attorney) private sector experience.

Experience Matters
A major consideration for voters is whether a presidential candidate has held elective office.  An individual's prior service in public office gives a sense of how he or she might govern and provides credibility to his or her candidacy.  In 2016 Donald Trump was able to best 16 challengers, some with considerable government experience, in the primaries and defeat Hillary Clinton, who had served as First Lady, U.S. Senator and Secretary of State, in the general election despite his lack of public or military service.  Voters were fed up with the status quo and Clinton proved to be a lackluster opponent.  The results of electing a business promoter with no experience in elective office have proved decidely mixed.

The 2020 Democratic candidates for the Oval Office bring a wealth of experience, including service in the executive branch, the U.S. Senate, the U.S. House, the governor's office, the state legislature, local government and the private sector.  Governors have the advantage of executive experience.  Senate and House members grapple with national and international problems. 
Officials in local government have hands on experience in dealing close up with people's needs.  Achieving success in the private sector requires a set of skills which may or may not be transferable to service in governnment.  A fair number of the 2020 candidates, but less than half, have law degrees.  Many prospects have combination of experiences.  Traditional paths are to start in local government, then work one's way up to positions in state or federal government, or to use success in the business world as a springboard to public office.  Seventeen people who served as governor (+), 16 people who served in the U.S. Senate (+), and 19 people who served in the U.S. House (+) served as President.  Three Senators have been elected directly to the White House, most recently Barack Obama in 2008; the last House Member elected directly to the the White House was James Garfield in 1880. 

Finally there is an important distinction between current and former officials; when an individual served is relevant.  If the candidate left office a number of years ago, he or she may have difficulty establishing a footholld with voters, depending what he or she has been doing since.  On the flip side, serving in office and running for president concurrently can be a real challenge; inevitably there will be reports that the candidate is neglecting his or her day job.


Not Running

M.Bloomberg S.Brown