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Democratic Party presidential candidates, 2008

Democratic presidential candidates, 2008

January 14 to June 8, 2008

Nominee Barack Obama Hillary Clinton
Party Democratic Democratic
Home state Illinois New York
States carried 25 + D.C 25
Popular vote 18,045,829 18,107,587

Democratic Primary Results. Purple denotes Obama win.

Democratic presidential candidate before election

John Kerry

Democratic presidential candidate-elect

Barack Obama

This article contains lists of candidates associated with the 2008 Democratic Party presidential primaries for the 2008 United States presidential election.


  • Delegate counts 1
  • Nominee 2
  • Withdrew during the primary elections 3
  • Withdrew before primary elections 4
  • Other candidates 5
  • Declined to run for party nomination 6
  • See also 7
  • References 8
  • External links 9

Delegate counts

Delegate statistics:

  • Total number of delegates: 4050 (797 unpledged super delegates and 3,253 pledged elected delegates)
  • Delegates required for nomination: 2118


Senator Barack Obama

Barack Obama, born August 4, 1961, in Honolulu, Hawaii, U.S. Senator from Illinois. A draft Obama movement began with his well-received 2004 Democratic National Convention keynote address. Obama was the featured speaker at Iowa Senator Tom Harkin's annual steak fry, a political event favored by presidential hopefuls in the lead-up to the Iowa Caucus.[1] Obama formally announced his candidacy on February 10, 2007.

On June 3, 2008, Obama became the Democratic presumptive presidential nominee by acquiring the 2,025 delegates required to win the Democratic nomination, according to multiple news sources.[2] [3]

Obama received the official Democratic presidential nomination from the Party's delegates at its 2008 National Convention in Denver, Colorado, held in August.

On November 4, Obama was elected as the 44th President of the United States with 53% of the popular vote and 365 electoral votes. He assumed office on January 20, 2009 and is the first African American U.S. President.

Withdrew during the primary elections

Candidates who withdrew during the primaries.

Senator Joe Biden

Joe Biden, born November 20, 1942, in Scranton, Pennsylvania, is a former U.S. Senator from Delaware who was a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1988, although he ceased active campaigning in 1987, before the first primaries. Biden first hinted that he might run in 2008 in a December 8, 2004, radio interview with host Don Imus, saying: "I'm going to proceed as if I'm going to run." Biden had repeatedly stated his intention to run, and did so as early as March 21, 2006. Biden's Federal Leadership PAC is "Unite Our States", which tracks Biden's public appearances and policy positions. On January 7, 2007, when asked by Tim Russert on Meet the Press, "Are you running for president?" he responded, "I am running for president." He also said he planned to create an exploratory committee by the end of the month.[4][5][6] On January 31, 2007, he officially signed the papers with the FEC to run for president. He dropped out of the race on January 3, 2008 after a poor performance in the Iowa caucus.

On June 22, Biden endorsed Barack Obama, and he was chosen on August 23, 2008 as Obama's running mate.

On November 4, the Obama - Biden ticket defeated John McCain and his running mate Sarah Palin to win the presidential election. Thus, Biden was elected as the 47th Vice President of the United States. He assumed office on January 20, 2009.[7]

Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton

Hillary Rodham Clinton, born October 26, 1947 in Illinois, is a former U.S. Senator from New York and former First Lady of the United States. Clinton announced the formation of her exploratory committee on January 20, 2007, with a post on her website.[8] She delivered several speeches intended to reach out to moderates, according to analysts. She also held fundraising meetings, including meeting with women from Massachusetts, a key constituency of potential rival and 2004 nominee John Kerry; however, these activities were consistent with the lead up to a campaign for re-election to her Senate seat in 2006. Clinton announced on January 20, 2007 that she would run in 2008 (the same day she announced the formation of an exploratory committee). The clear front-runner, she was widely expected to clinch the nomination early, but as of June 3, 2008, she had 1,923 delegates, 231 behind Barack Obama and 195 short of the 2,118 required to win the Democratic nomination.[2] She withdrew from the race and endorsed Barack Obama, as the presumptive nominee, on June 7.[3] [9]

Clinton was nominated and subsequently assumed the office of Secretary of State in the Obama administration.

Senator Christopher Dodd

Christopher Dodd, born May 27, 1944 in Willimantic, Connecticut, is a five-term U.S. Senator from that state. Dodd was reported to be a likely contender for the Democratic Vice President slot on John Kerry's ticket in 2004. In May 2006, Dodd said he has "decided to do all the things that are necessary to prepare to seek the presidency in 2008", including hiring staff, raising money and traveling around the country in the next few months to enlist support.[10] On January 11, 2007, Dodd announced his presidential candidacy on the "Imus in the Morning" radio show with Don Imus.[11] As a result of unpromising results in the Iowa Caucus on January 3, 2008, Dodd dropped out of the race for the presidency, and endorsed Barack Obama.

Former Senator John Edwards

New Hampshire Democratic Party's fundraising dinner. On August 18, 2005, Edwards traveled to Waterloo, Iowa, to deliver an address to the Iowa AFL-CIO, a potential key supporter in the Iowa caucuses. On December 26, 2006, Edwards formally announced his candidacy.[12] On January 30, 2008, Edwards withdrew from the race, and endorsed Barack Obama.[13]

Former Senator Mike Gravel

Maurice Robert "Mike" Gravel, born May 13, 1930 in Massachusetts, is a former Democratic United States Senator from Alaska, who served two terms from 1969 to 1981. Born and raised in Springfield, Massachusetts to French-Canadian immigrant parents, Gravel served in the United States Army in West Germany and graduated from Columbia University. He moved to Alaska in the late 1950s, becoming a real estate developer and entering politics. He served in the Alaska House of Representatives from 1963 to 1966 and became its Speaker of the House. Gravel was elected to the United States Senate in 1968. He declared his candidacy for the presidency in a speech to the National Press Club on April 17, 2006. On March 25, 2008, Gravel withdrew from the race, and switched his party affiliation to the Libertarian Party. He refused to endorse either Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton for president, but endorsed Green Party candidate Jesse Johnson. Gravel then ran for the Libertarian party nomination for president, but lost the nomination to former Republican Congressman Bob Barr of Georgia.

Representative Dennis Kucinich

Dennis Kucinich, born October 8, 1946, in Cleveland, Ohio, is a Congressman for Ohio, former Mayor of Cleveland, and 2004 Democratic presidential candidate. Dennis Kucinich is known by many as "The Peace Candidate", having received the 2003 Gandhi Peace Award. Kucinich opposed the war in Iraq and the Patriot Act. Under Kucinich's plan, United Nations peace-keepers would go to Iraq if the Iraqi citizens desire their presence. The Congressman re-introduced legislation to create a United States Department of Peace via HR 808 on February 5, 2007. He is currently campaigning to end the war in Iraq by cutting off funding. He is in support of peaceful diplomatic relations with Iran, and all nations. Kucinich has received many awards praising his courage and work for peace.[14] On December 12, 2006, Kucinich announced his candidacy at an event at Cleveland's City Hall.[15] He withdrew from the race on January 24, 2008. On August 26, he endorsed the Obama-Biden ticket.[16]

Governor Bill Richardson

Bill Richardson, born November 15, 1947 in Pasadena, California, is Governor of New Mexico, former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Secretary of Energy and former Representative for New Mexico. After reportedly informing party leaders in February 2005 of his intention to run for president, on December 7, 2006, Richardson said "I am running" during his response to a prospective question about the 2008 presidential election by Fox News, but he later retracted the decision and said he would make an official decision by January. On May 21, 2007, he officially declared his candidacy. On January 9, 2008 he withdrew from the race and went on to endorse Barack Obama.

Withdrew before primary elections

Candidates who dropped out before the Iowa Caucuses

Senator Evan Bayh

Evan Bayh, born December 26, 1955, Indiana, former two-term Governor and currently a second-term U.S. Senator from that state. In February 2005, Bayh renamed his Federal Leadership PAC the All America PAC and hired a new veteran staff with experience on the 2004 campaigns of John Kerry and Wesley Clark for President and Tom Daschle for senate. On December 1, 2006, he announced he was running for president and formed a presidential exploratory committee.[17] He announced on December 16, 2006 that he would not seek the Democratic nomination for President, and then endorsed Senator Hillary Clinton. After Clinton withdrew from the race, Bayh endorsed Senator Barack Obama.[18]

Former Governor Tom Vilsack

Tom Vilsack, born December 13, 1950, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, is a former Governor of Iowa and Chairman of the Democratic Leadership Council. Many suspected Vilsack was high on the list of potential running mates for John Kerry in the 2004 Presidential Election. In 2005, Vilsack established Heartland PAC,[19] a political action committee aimed at electing Democratic Governors and other statewide candidates. Unlike the PACs of potential candidates, Heartland PAC is not a federal PAC and can not contribute to federal candidates. He filed papers with the Federal Elections Commission (FEC) to run for president on November 9, 2006.[20] He dropped out of the race on February 23, 2007 citing fundraising woes. He subsequently endorsed Hillary Clinton.[21][22] After Clinton had withdrew from the race, Vilsack threw his support behind Barack Obama.

Vilsack was nominated and subsequently assumed the office of Secretary of Agriculture in the Obama administration.

  • United States Secretary of Agriculture: 2009–present
  • Governor of Iowa: 1999-2007

Other candidates

The following people filed with the Federal Elections Commission (FEC):

  • Willie Carter[23]
  • Randy Crow[24]
  • Phil Epstein[25]
  • Michael Forrester[26]
  • Henry Hewes[27]
  • D.R. Hunter[28]
  • Keith Russell Judd[29]
  • Karl Krueger[30]
  • Frank Lynch[31]
  • Lee L. Mercer Jr.[32]
  • Grover Cleveland Mullins[33]
  • Larry Reed[34]

Declined to run for party nomination

Speculated candidates who decided against running

General Wesley Clark (Ret.)
Wesley Clark, born December 23, 1944, in Illinois, from Arkansas, a Vietnam war veteran, a retired United States Army four-star general and former Supreme Allied Commander of NATO. He graduated first in his class from West Point. Clark is traveling widely through his Federal Leadership PAC WesPAC,[35] and is a commentator on MSNBC, while grassroots campaigns for Clark have become active on the internet.[36] Clark was a 2004 presidential candidate, narrowly winning the Oklahoma primary. During a January 17, 2007, speech given to a local UAW group in Alabama and posted on YouTube, Clark stated "when I run, I'll be the national security candidate."[37] He endorsed Senator Hillary Clinton on September 15, 2007. After her concession, Clark endorsed Senator Barack Obama.

Tom Daschle, former Senate Majority Leader
Tom Daschle, born December 9, 1947, in South Dakota, former U.S. Senator from that state. He set up a new political action committee and planned a Jefferson-Jackson Day speech in the politically pivotal state of Iowa. Daschle has transferred $500,000 into the new Federal Leadership PAC, New Leadership for America.[38] In July 2005, Daschle said he was not planning a rematch against his successor John Thune in 2010, and he told the Sioux Falls Argus Leader newspaper that he was seriously considering a run and would not "rule out the possibility of an official announcement in the near future." However, on December 2, 2006, Daschle announced he would not run for president in 2008, and threw his support behind Barack Obama.[39]

Howard Dean, former Governor of Vermont
Howard Dean, born November 17, 1947, in New York, former Governor of Vermont. Howard Dean is the current DNC Chairman, and was a candidate for the nomination in 2004. Dean said if he won the DNC Chairmanship he would not run for president and, since he won, has often repeated this.[40]

Senator Russ Feingold
[49] He stated on February 22 that he had voted for Barack Obama in his state's primary election.[48] noting that he was willing to consider an offer from the eventual nominee for the vice presidency.[43] However, on November 12, 2006, Feingold ruled out a 2008 presidential candidacy,[47], Feingold commented that the legislative victory "pushes me in both directions," and he "could make a decision on a presidential run before the end of the year".2006 Congressional Elections suggesting December 31, 2006, as a reasonable date. Feingold's stance was generally criticized by other Democratic senators, including Biden and Clinton. In December 2005, he led the Senate campaign against the renewal of the Patriot Act; following his anti-war and bi-partisan rule of law positions in the [46],Iraq War In early April 2005, Feingold announced that he would be divorcing his second wife, a move which some analysts believed could diminish his chances of winning the presidential nomination. On August 17, 2005, Feingold became the first U.S. Senator to publicly support a firm date for withdrawal from the [45] Later that month, he took a listening trip to Alabama.[44]

Al Gore, former Vice President of the United States
Al Gore, born March 31, 1948 in Washington, D.C., is the former U.S. Vice President, and was the 2000 Democratic nominee, winning the popular vote. Gore is not a declared candidate in the 2008 presidential Election. However, he has not rejected the possibility of future involvement in politics.[50] The prospect of a Gore candidacy was thus a topic of public discussion and speculation.[51] There were also grassroots draft campaigns. A grassroots group in New Hampshire considered a write-in campaign for the New Hampshire primary on 8 January 2008.[52] The campaign was halted, however.[53] Previous grassroot groups in California[54] and New York[55] attempted to convince him to run. There were also draft campaigns via websites.[56]

The release of An Inconvenient Truth in 2006 increased Gore's popularity among progressives.[57] After it was nominated for an Academy Award, Donna Brazile, Gore's campaign chairwoman from the 2000 campaign stated during a speech on January 31, 2007, at Moravian College in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania that, "Wait till Oscar night, I tell people: 'I'm dating. I haven't fallen in love yet. On Oscar night, if Al Gore has slimmed down 25 or 30 pounds, Lord knows.'"[58] The meaning of these remarks became clearer when on award night, while in attendance and acting as a presenter for an award, Gore began a speech that seemed to be leading up to an announcement that he would run for president. However, background music drowned him out and he was escorted offstage, implying it was a rehearsed gag.[59]

A nationwide Gallup poll of 485 Democrats and Democratic leaners in mid-November 2007 showed Gore receiving 17% of the votes in a hypothetical Democratic primary, second to Bush in the 2000 Election takes command of the field, with 32% support."[60] An even earlier April 2007 Quinnipiac University Polling Institute poll of 504 registered Democrats in New Jersey showed Gore receiving 12% of the votes in a hypothetical Democratic primary, in third place behind Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.[61] However, all of the polls which indicated that Al Gore would not be the leading Democratic candidate were all conducted before his Nobel Prize. The US has never had a presidential candidate who has already won a Nobel Prize. On June 16, Gore endorsed Barack Obama.

Senator John Kerry
Senator Barack Obama.
  • U.S. Senator from Massachusetts: 1985–2013
  • Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts: 1983-1985

Al Sharpton
Al Sharpton, born October 3, 1954 in New York, is a Pentecostal minister, civil rights activist, former candidate for mayor of New York and for the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senator from New York, and candidate for the 2004 nomination. When asked about 2008, he replied, "Don't get Hillary mad at me."[67] He was one of the first candidates to enter the 2004 race, but said nothing about 2008. His 2004 campaign was not a great success. He never got more than 10% of the vote in any state, although he did get 20% in the District of Columbia.[68] There are still unresolved campaign-finance issues left over from that campaign. In January 2007, when asked if he was considering running in 2008, Sharpton said "I don't hear any reason not to," adding, "we'll see over the next couple of months."[69] On April 2, 2007, Sharpton announced that he would not get into the 2008 presidential race.[70]

Mark Warner, former Governor of Virginia
Mark Warner, born December 15, 1954 in Indiana, is a former Governor of Virginia. He became the Democratic candidate in the 2008 US Senate election in Virginia, and eventually won the seat. As a successful Governor from a "red state" (barred from serving consecutive terms by state law) and popular within the party, it was highly anticipated that Warner would mount a Presidential bid. In October, though Governor Warner stated that he would not seek the presidency. He then endorsed Barack Obama. He was the keynote speaker at the Democratic Convention. On November 4, Warner won the election for U.S. Senator from Virginia.[71][72]

See also


  1. ^ Anne E. Kornblut, For This Red Meat Crowd, Obama's '08 Choice Is Clear, The New York Times, September 18, 2006.
  2. ^ a b RealClearPolitics - 2008 Elections - Democratic Delegate Count
  3. ^ a b Nagourney, Adam; JEFF ZELENY (June 5, 2008). "Clinton to End Bid and Endorse Obama".  
  4. ^ "". Biden for President, Inc. 
  5. ^ "". Biden for President, Inc. 
  6. ^ Dickinson, Tim. "Biden In; Gore Out". Rolling Stone. 
  7. ^ "Joe Biden!". Retrieved 2008-08-23. Barack has chosen Joe Biden....Breaking news: the text message is out and it's official... Barack Obama has selected Joe Biden to be his running mate! 
  8. ^  
  9. ^ "Clinton to bow out Friday: U.S. media".  
  10. ^ Brune, Adrian. "Senator Dodd Declares His Intention To Bid for the White House". The New York Sun. 
  11. ^ Fouhy, Beth. "Democrat Dodd joins 2008 presidential race".  
  12. ^  
  13. ^ Edwards expected to drop out of race today. Retrieved on 30 January 2008
  14. ^ "Kucinich's Acceptance Speech for the 2003 Gandhi Peace Award". 
  15. ^ "Kucinich 2008". Kucinich for President 2008, Inc. 
  16. ^ "Dennis Kucinich Dropping Out Of Presidential Race". 
  17. ^
  18. ^ Johnson, Sasha (2003-12-16). "Bayh bows out of '08 presidential race". Retrieved 2007-03-21. 
  19. ^ "Heartland PAC". Heartland PAC. Retrieved 2007-03-21. 
  20. ^ "FEC Disclosure Reports: VILSACK, THOMAS J". United States Federal Election Commission. Retrieved 2007-03-21. 
  21. ^ "Ex-Iowa governor drops 2008 presidential bid". 2007-02-26. Retrieved 2007-03-21. 
  22. ^ Thurman, Kevin (2007-02-23). "Thank You Video". Vilsack for President Blog. Tom Vilsack for President, Inc. Retrieved 2007-03-21. 
  23. ^ "Willie Carter for President". 
  24. ^ "Randy Crow - Democrat For President 2008". 
  25. ^ "Phil Epstein For President". Archived from the original on 2008-01-11. 
  26. ^ "Michael Forrester for President". 
  27. ^ "Henry Hewes". Archived from the original on 2008-06-05. 
  28. ^ "D.R. Hunter For U.S. President". 
  29. ^ Project Vote Smart - Keith Russell Judd
  30. ^ "Karl Krueger For President 2008". 
  31. ^ "Frank Lynch Democrat for President". 
  32. ^ "Mercer For President 2008". 
  33. ^ "Vote Grover Cleveland Mullins, Democrat for President". 
  34. ^ "United States Vice Presidential Candidate 2008". 
  35. ^ "WesPAC". WesPAC-Securing America's Future. Retrieved 2007-03-20. 
  36. ^ "Draft Wesley Clark for President". Retrieved 2007-03-20. 
  37. ^ "Alabama". YouTube. 2007-01-17. Retrieved 2007-03-20. 
  38. ^ "New Leadership for America". New Leadership for America. Retrieved 2007-03-21. 
  39. ^ Associated Press (2007-02-21). "Ex-Senate leader Daschle endorses Hussein Osama". Retrieved 2007-03-21. 
  40. ^ Gunzburger, Ron. "2008 Democratic Presidential Candidates: Howard Dean". Politics1. Retrieved 2007-03-21. 
  41. ^ Moe, Doug (2005-02-05). "'"Doug Moe: Universal studio gets 'Sunlight.  
  42. ^ "Progressive Patriots Fund". Progressive Patriots Fund. Retrieved 2007-03-21. 
  43. ^ a b Tumulty, Brian (2006-11-13). "Feingold ends talk of presidential run".  
  44. ^ "Domain Name Registration". pair Networks, Inc. Retrieved 2007-03-21.  See also: "Domain Name Registration". pair Networks, Inc. Retrieved 2007-03-21.  See also: "Domain Name Registration". pair Networks, Inc. Retrieved 2007-03-21. 
  45. ^ Gilbert, Craig (2005-03-31). "Southern strategy for Feingold".  
  46. ^ Baker, Peter (2005-08-18). "Feingold Urges Troop Withdrawal By End of '06". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2007-03-21. 
  47. ^ Associated Press (2006-11-09). "Feingold closer to decision on presidential run". Retrieved 2007-03-21. 
  48. ^ Magney, Reid (2006-11-21). "Feingold focusing on Senate work, won’t rule out VP role".  
  49. ^ Gilbert, Craig (2006-11-11). "Feingold rules out 2008 run for president".  
  50. ^ Gore Leaves the Door Open. New York Times, Dec. 10, 2007.
  51. ^ Why Isn't Gore Running?. Newsweek Magazine, Dec. 13, 2007. See also: "The Last Temptation Of Al Gore". TIME Magazine, May 28, 2007.
  52. ^ "A New Hampshire Write-In for Gore Can Win". 
  53. ^ Write-In Campaign for Al Gore in New Hampshire Primary Halted
  54. ^ "California Draft Gore Halts Activities". 
  55. ^ Kilgannon, Corey (December 4, 2007). "The 'Draft Gore' Movement, Sidelined". The New York Times. Retrieved May 1, 2010. 
  56. ^ "".  See also: "". , "". , "".  and "America for Gore". Retrieved 2007-10-08. 
  57. ^ Jonathan Chait of The New Republic cites a Daily Kos straw poll and An Inconvenient Truth. "Gore's popularity soars as Clinton loses her way"
  58. ^ "2008: Democrats in Town". The New York Times. (Blog). February 2, 2007
  59. ^ "Washington diary: Al meets Oscar" BBC News. February 28, 2007
  60. ^ Tisdall, Simon (2007-06-29). "Poll of Democrats reveals Gore could still steal the show". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 2007-07-17. 
  61. ^ "Giuliani Has Same Lead Over Any Dem In New Jersey, Quinnipiac University Poll Finds; Moving Primary Has Little Impact On Voters". Quinnipiac University. April 19, 2007.
  62. ^ "Keeping America's Promise". Keeping America's Promise, Inc. Retrieved 2007-03-21. 
  63. ^ Leiby, Richard; Anne Schroeder (2005-03-01). "Kerry Sets the Stage for a Second Act". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2007-03-21. 
  64. ^  
  65. ^ Yen, Hope (2006-11-19). "Kerry: Botched Joke Won't Affect 2008" (Reprint). Associated Press ( Retrieved 2007-03-21. 
  66. ^  
  67. ^ James, Ben (2005-09-13). "Freddy & Al: Brief Encounter". The Village Voice. Retrieved 2007-03-21. 
  68. ^ "2004 PRIMARY RESULTS: Al Sharpton". Retrieved 2007-03-21. 
  69. ^ Associated Press (2007-01-09). "Sharpton considers running for president". Retrieved 2007-03-21. 
  70. ^ Monday, April 2nd 2007, 4:00 AM (April 2, 2007). "Rev. Al is bowing out - Nation / World - NY Daily News". New York: Retrieved 2008-09-05. 
  71. ^ "Statement of Governor Mark Warner". Forward Together Pac. 2006-10-12. Archived from the original on October 22, 2006. Retrieved 2006-10-12. 
  72. ^ Conley, Dan (2006-12-17). "More on Warner". Political Wire. Archived from the original on February 27, 2007. Retrieved 2006-12-17. 

External links

  • List of all 2008 candidates for President at Project Vote Smart
  •'s non-biased chart of each candidate and how they compare to each other
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