CNN  — 

There are 1,281 days between today and the Nov. 3, 2020 presidential election. But, with Donald Trump in the White House, Democratic politicians are already eagerly jockeying for position with the expectation that the party’s nominee will have a very good chance of ousting the incumbent – if his poll numbers stay anywhere as low as they are at the moment.

One potential candidate who looks like she’s decided against running is New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand. “I’m focused entirely on running for Senate, so yes, I’m ruling it out,” she said Monday in New York.

Gillibrand’s announcement is a bit of a surprise given that she was widely seen as a likely candidate. (She, of course, could change her mind sometime between now and 2020. See “Obama, Barack” on that front.)

Gillibrand’s news got me to thinking: Just how many people are thinking about/mentioned/floating themselves for the Democratic nomination and where, roughly, do they fit when it comes to their chances of winning?

Below I broke the field into four tiers as a way to think about the massive number of potential competitors. These names – and the groups they fall into – are based on email exchanges with more than a dozen national Democratic strategists, many of whom are veterans of the Obama and Clinton campaigns.

One grain of salt before we proceed. A prominent Democratic consultant offered this analysis of the current field: “I don’t think there is a top tier. I think our bench is that weak so everyone starts in Tier B.”

Also, I’ve placed them in alphabetical order within their respective tiers.

1st Tier (If they run, they have a real chance to win the nomination)

Joe Biden

NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 01:  (Images have been converted in to black and white) Vice President of the United States Joe Biden speaks on stage during the 2015 Concordia Summit at Grand Hyatt New York on October 1, 2015 in New York City.  (Photo by Leigh Vogel/Getty Images for Concordia Summit)
Who is the leader of the Democratic Party?
04:59 - Source: CNN

The former vice president clearly regrets not running in 2016. And he’s keeping the sort of schedule – New Hampshire speech! – that makes him look like someone who’s thinking of running.

Bernie Sanders

Senator Bernard Sanders asks questions to Betsy DeVos during her confirmation hearing for Secretary of Education before the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee on Capitol Hill January 17, 2017 in Washington, DC.
Sanders: Obama's paid speech not a good idea
00:47 - Source: CNN

The Vermont independent started a movement in 2016. His grassroots activist and donor base is bigger than anyone in the potential 2020 field.

Elizabeth Warren

elizabeth warren lead 2
Sen. Warren's full interview with Jake Tapper
07:16 - Source: CNN

Warren, prior to 2016, was the face of the populist, anti-Wall Street wing of the Democratic party. Sanders cut into Warren’s dominance in his presidential campaign. But, she remains the single most beloved figure among liberals.

2nd Tier (Have potential to be a major contender but not there….yet)

Cory Booker

sen. booker discusses sanctuary cities jake tapper the lead_00014712.jpg
Booker: Exec order on sanctuary cities hurts police
05:21 - Source: CNN

A few people I talked to suggested the New Jersey Senator belonged in the top tier. I am skeptical not just because of the mediocre Senate campaign he ran in 2013 but also because of his well-documented ties to Wall Street.

Andrew Cuomo

sanders cuomo
Cuomo announces proposal for free tuition
01:03 - Source: CNN

A two-term governor of New York with a record of liberal accomplishments and a famous last name? Check, check and check.

Al Franken

Senate Judiciary Committee member Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) questions Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) during his confirmation hearing to be the next U.S. Attorney General in the Russell Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill January 10, 2017 in Washington, DC.
Watch the full interview with Sen. Al Franken
05:33 - Source: CNN

The Minnesota Senator emerged as one of the leading critics of Trump’s Cabinet picks in the early days of the administration. And he’s gone from a sideshow to a serious legislator in his eight years in the Senate.

Kamala Harris

Kamala Harris on boycotting EPA pick vote
Kamala Harris: Boycott about transparency
01:05 - Source: CNN

The newly-minted California senator is avoiding any talk about her future ambitions. But her history-making Senate bid – she’s the first Indian American and first black senator from California – and the state’s size and massive Democratic dominance makes her appealing

Jay Inslee

jay inslee
Democratic Governors plot a 'vigorous 2018'
00:43 - Source: CNN

That so few people in Washington buzz about the two term Washington governor is a pretty obvious case of East Coast bias. Inslee has spent time in Washington (D.C.) as a member of Congress and got a major media boost from his state’s role in blocking Trump’s travel ban.

Tim Kaine

tim kaine newday
Kaine: Trump trying to stay cozy with Russia
02:11 - Source: CNN

The 2016 vice presidential nominee has insisted he won’t run for the top job in 2020. I take him (mostly) at his word, so he sits in the 2nd tier. But if Kaine runs – particularly with the blessing – and endorsement(?) – of Hillary Clinton he could be formidable.

Terry McAuliffe

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VA governor on Trump's infrastructure plan
01:48 - Source: CNN

The Virginia governor is term-limited out of a job later this year and there is already chatter about what he might do next. And, his prominent role leading Democratic redistricting efforts gives him a national platform and fundraising base. Also, the Clintons.

Chris Murphy

Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) participates in a discussion about legislation to halt the sale of some weapons to Saudi Arabia at the Center for the National Interest September 19, 2016 in Washington, DC.
Murphy: Trump lied to reporters on immigration
01:33 - Source: CNN

The Connecticut Senator’s profile has soared since the tragedy in Newtown in December 2012. Murphy has not just emerged as a lead voice on gun control but also as a point man in attacks on Trump. Some whisper he is too green and ambitious. But that’s rarely a hindrance in presidential politics.

3rd Tier (There’s a chance but….)

Steve Bullock

There was no recent CNN interview with Montana Gov. Steve Bullock

The governor of Montana is a Democrat. Did you know that? Probably not. That’s Bullock’s problem. But, if Democrats are looking for new voice from the Mountain West, he has a puncher’s shot.

Eric Garcetti

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Mayor of L.A. ready to stand up to Trump
01:30 - Source: CNN

The popular mayor of Los Angeles is mulling runs for governor in 2018 and president in 2020. President seems like too big a leap. Particularly with fellow Californian Kamala Harris lurking.

John Hickenlooper

john kickenlooper erin burnett outfront _00020104.jpg
Hickenlooper: 'A lot of things on the table'
05:17 - Source: CNN

Quietly, the governor of Colorado made it to the final cut of Clinton’s vice presidential list. He has a powerful story – small businessman, mayor of Denver, two term governor – and represents a part of the county where Democrats are growing. But, he is very low-key – and may be too moderate for Democratic primary voters.

Amy Klobuchar

Committee vice-chair Sen. Amy Klobuchar questions Federal Reserve Bank Chairwoman Janet Yellen as she testifies to the Joint Economic Committee during a hearing entitled 'The Economic Outlook,' on Capitol Hill, May 7, 2014 in Washington, DC.
Klobuchar: Leaks on Flynn are not the issue
04:15 - Source: CNN

Klobuchar, who has represented Minnesota since 2006, and is widely seen as both ambitious and talented. But, buzz about Franken is eclipsing her right now.

Mitch Landrieu

Mitch Landrieu
New Orleans begins Confederate statue removal
00:52 - Source: WDSU

The mayor of New Orleans – and scion to a famous political family – was floated as a possible presidential candidate in the New York Times. Which is something. But hard to see how he gets from here to there.

Seth Moulton

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Lawmaker: 'War doesn't get any easier'
06:50 - Source: CNN

The Massachusetts House member wins rave reviews and is seen by almost everyone as a future Democratic leader. (I had an email exchange with Moulton about the future of the Democratic party back in February.) But 2020 feels, at least at the moment, like too much of a leap.

Martin O’Malley