The Slatest

A Bunch of Democrats Sort of Said on Monday That They’re Running for President

Kirsten Gillibrand speaking in Washington, D.C.
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand speaks at a news conference supporting Puerto Rico’s recovery from Hurricane Maria on Sept. 18 in D.C.
Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images

The 2020 campaign has begun, sort of. Several prominent and not-so-prominent Democrats have either already declared their candidacies or started even-more-explicitly hinting at runs to defeat Donald Trump in 2020.

Sen. Sherrod Brown, the progressive stalwart who just won another statewide race in ever-reddening Ohio, told the Cleveland Plain Dealer that an “overwhelming” number of people have asked him about running and that he would discuss it with his family. He also gave a preview of his likely message, telling the paper, “My message clearly appeals to Democrats, Republicans and independents. We showed you can get votes by being authentic and standing up for workers. People in Washington don’t understand the dignity of work.”

I can’t think what past Democratic presidential candidates he might be talking about!

Brown’s wife, columnist Connie Schultz, also tweeted the Plain Dealer story and said that “we’re thinking about it.”

Brown’s Democratic Senate colleague Kirsten Gillibrand also spoke to a local news outlet about her likely presidential ambitions. She told The View that she was “thinking about it” and also gave a preview of what her candidacy would focus on: “I believe that I’ve been called to fight as hard as I possibly can to restore that moral integrity, that moral decency.”

Joy Behar responded: “That sounds like a yes!”

Richard Ojeda, the West Virginia congressional candidate who lost his House race last Tuesday skipped the speculation phase and announced his candidacy on Monday. While Ojeda lost by about 13 points to Republican Carol Miller in West Virginia’s 3rd District, he had actually narrowed the gap by about 35 points compared Trump’s margin in 2016. (Ojeda was one of those votes for Trump.) The former Army paratrooper was something of an online and media phenomenon, garnering several profiles in national publications.

While there was a big rush of these hints today, Brown, Gillibrand, and Ojeda aren’t the only ones who’ve come close to saying they’re running. Elizabeth Warren has said she’ll “take a hard look” at running; former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick has put himself back in the spotlight; Bernie Sanders never stopped being in the spotlight, and neither has Joe Biden. CNN called Kamala Harris “the new Democratic frontrunner,” while Cory Booker has recently found himself in Iowa. Maryland Rep. John Delaney also declared his run … last summer.