After essentially a two-way race between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders in 2016, Idaho Democrats will have a multitude of candidates to choose from in the 2020 presidential primary.

Wednesday was the deadline for presidential hopefuls to file with the Idaho Secretary of State’s Office. Besides 19 Democrats, five Constitution Party candidates and six Republicans completed the necessary paperwork and paid the $1,000 filing fee to be included in the March 10 primary.

President Donald Trump headlines the list of Republican candidates. Other hopefuls include: perennial candidate Roque “Rocky” De La Fuente, who received four votes (out of nearly 24,000 cast) in Idaho’s 2016 Democratic presidential caucus; 2012 Democratic presidential candidate Bob Ely; Matthew John Matern, of California; former Illinois Congressman Joe Walsh; and former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld, who was a vice presidential candidate for the Libertarian Party in 2016.

The Democratic candidates include: Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet; former Vice President Joe Biden; businessman and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg; New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker; perennial candidate Steve Burke, of New York; Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Ind.; former U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julian Castro, of Texas; Roque De La Fuente III, the son of Republican presidential candidate Roque “Rocky” De La Fuente; former Maryland Congressman John Delaney; Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, of Hawaii; California Sen. Kamala Harris, who dropped out of the race last week; former Socialist Party presidential nominee Brian Moore, of California; Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar; former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick; Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders; businessman Tom Steyer; Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren; author Marianne Williamson; and businessman Andrew Yang.

The five Constitution Party candidates include: former coal company executive Don Blankenship; family doctor Daniel Clyde Cummings; small business owner Don Grundmann; 2016 Constitution Party presidential candidate J.R. Myers, of Alaska; and Sheila “Samm” Tittle.

Any candidate who drops out of the race more than 45 days before the March 10 primary will not be included on the ballot.

The March 10 primary serves as a means to allocate party delegates to the various candidates prior to the national nominating conventions.

The Idaho Republican Party only allows Republican voters to cast ballots in its primary elections. The Democratic presidential primary will be open to Democrats and to unaffiliated voters (those who haven’t declared an affiliation with any party), while the Constitution Party ballot will be available to Constitution Party and unaffiliated voters.

The March 10 election only addresses presidential candidates. Primary contests in other federal, state and legislative races will take place May 19.

Washington, which also holds its presidential primary March 10, handles the filing process a little differently. Each major party has until Jan. 7 to submit a list of candidate names to the Secretary of State’s Office. Only those names will appear on the ballot. Minor party candidates are nominated via a state convention process.

The presidential primary is the only election in Washington in which voters are required to sign a party declaration statement. Although all registered voters will receive mail-in ballots, they’ll only be counted if the voter signs the party declaration statement and the candidate they choose matches that party.

Signing the declaration statement won’t affect who someone can vote for in other elections.

Like Idaho, Washington holds a separate “top 2” primary for federal, state and legislative races. That will take place Aug. 4; the two candidates who receive the highest number of votes, regardless of party, will move on to the Nov. 3 general election.

The March 10 presidential primary comes a week after Super Tuesday, when more than a dozen states will hold their Republican and Democratic presidential primaries. Consequently, upwards of 40 percent of the national party delegates will have been allocated before Idaho or Washington voters have a chance to weigh in on their preferred candidate.

Spence may be contacted at or (208) 791-9168.

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