Which Democratic Candidates Are Left in the 2020 Presidential Race With Julián Castro Dropping Out?

The 2020 Democratic primary field, which at its peak had nearly 30 candidates, has been winnowed down to 14 following Julián Castro's exit from the race.

Castro's campaign announced the end of his White House bid in a video message released Thursday morning. The former San Antonio mayor and housing secretary under President Barack Obama was the only Latino candidate seeking the Democratic nomination.

"I'm not done fighting," Castro said in the video. "I'll keep working towards a nation where everyone counts, a nation where everyone can get a good job, good health care and a decent place to live."

Castro is the first candidate to suspend a campaign since early December, when Senator Kamala Harris suddenly dropped out despite being seen as a top-tier candidate. After her exit, Castro criticized the media for pushing "aside women and candidates of color" in their election coverage.

"Our party's diversity is our strength," he tweeted at the time.

This latest departure leaves the following 14 candidates in the race: Michael Bennet, Joe Biden, Michael Bloomberg, Cory Booker, Pete Buttigieg, John Delaney, Tulsi Gabbard, Amy Klobuchar, Deval Patrick, Tom Steyer, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Marianne Williamson and Andrew Yang.

Though the field of candidates remains relatively large, the polls suggest the race is a three-candidate competition among Biden, Sanders and Warren. The trio has been leading nearly every 2020 poll for months.

The latest NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll showed Biden in the lead with 24 percent support from Democratic voters and Democratic-leaning independents. He was closely followed by Sanders, who had 22 percent support. Warren had 17 percent support.

That's not to say the other Democrats don't stand a chance. Buttigieg has experienced a meteoric rise in Iowa over the past few months. The former South Bend, Indiana, mayor surged to first place in a CNN/Des Moines Register poll from November. Klobuchar is also doing well in the state and in recent weeks doubled the size of her campaign's operation.

There are also candidates who have the resources to make a big impact. Bloomberg, who is estimated to be worth $54 billion, is rapidly expanding his campaign and launched a record-breaking $100 million ad campaign. Fellow billionaire Tom Steyer climbed enough in the polls to qualify for the December debate stage ahead of some career politicians.

democratic primary remaining candidates
Democratic presidential candidates Andrew Yang, Pete Buttigieg, Elizabeth Warren, Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, Amy Klobuchar and Tom Steyer at the Democratic presidential primary debate at Loyola Marymount University on December 19, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. Fourteen candidates remain in the Democratic primary following the exit of Julián Castro on January 2, 2020. Mario Tama/Getty

But even the Democratic primary's top tier candidates may have a hard time defeating President Donald Trump in the general election. Trump is polling exceptionally well among Republicans, and surveys from key states like Texas and Florida show him defeating every potential Democratic challenger.

Plus, the president appears to have raised more money than any of his Democrat challengers in the last quarter of 2019. Trump's campaign announced Thursday that it has hauled in $46 million in donations, the largest amount for any candidate in 2019's fourth quarter. While not all of the Democrats have announced their fundraising totals, Sanders is likely to come closest to Trump, with $34.5 million raised in that quarter.

Next up for the 14 remaining Democrats are the early-voting contests. The first-in-the-nation Iowa caucus will be held February 3, followed by the New Hampshire primary on February 11, Nevada's primary on February 19 and South Carolina's primary on February 29.

There will also be four Democratic debates in the next few months, with the first being in Iowa on January 14. Only five candidates have met the necessary requirements to participate in the first debate of 2020, as the Democratic National Committee continues to raise the threshold for qualifying. Slated to appear onstage are Biden, Buttigieg, Klobuchar, Sanders and Warren.