Klobuchar jumps into 2020 race – By Lisa Hagen (The Hill) / Feb 10 2019
Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) on Sunday announced that she’s running for president in 2020, becoming the fifth U.S. senator to jump into the race to defeat President Trump.
Standing on a snow-covered stage in Boom Island Park in Minneapolis, where the temperatures had dipped to a freezing 14 degrees, Klobuchar announced her candidacy while invoking her family’s deep roots in the Midwest, a key battleground for Democrats as they look to rebuild their blue wall in Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania.
“Today on an island in the middle of the mighty Mississippi … I stand before you as the granddaughter of an iron ore miner, as the daughter of a teacher and a newspaperman, as the first woman elected to the United States Senate from the state of Minnesota, to announce my candidacy for president of the United States,” Klobuchar announced to a cheering crowd of onlookers.
The three-term senator laid out her vision for the country in a number of policy areas. She pledged to “take on the gun lobby,” root out corporate money in politics, commit to environmentally friendly policies, lower health care costs, restore voting rights and implement privacy protection laws.
She did not mention Trump by name, but alluded to him when she declared the country deserved better than “foreign policy by tweet.”
“Our sense of community is fracturing across our nation, warn down by the petty and vicious nature of our politics,” she said. “We are tired of the shutdowns and the showdowns, of the gridlock and the grandstanding. Today, on this snowy island, we say enough is enough.”
With her announcement, Klobuchar also became the second presidential candidate to hail from the Midwest.
Klobuchar has been considering a presidential campaign and was seen as signaling a likely bid when reports came out that she’ll be headlining a local Democratic banquet in Iowa on Feb. 21.
She joins a crowded field seeking the Democratic nomination in 2020, including Sens. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Kamala Harris (D-Calif.).
Other senators are still weighing 2020 bids including Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), a progressive stalwart, and Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), who is also touting his Rust Belt roots.
South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg (D) has also announced his intention to seek the presidency and has made his ties to the Midwest a central part of his campaign.
The Democratic field for 2020 is expected to be the biggest in history — and its most diverse — reflecting a party base eager to oust Trump, but one that remains wide open as the Democratic Party continues to move farther to the left.
In 2018, Klobuchar cruised to win a third Senate term, despite Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton barely winning Minnesota just two years earlier.
Klobuchar is expected to lean into her heartland roots and have a mild-mannered campaign approach that many dub “Minnesota nice.”
“I don’t agree with, ‘When they go low, we go low,’ but I do agree that when they go low, we have to respond,” Klobuchar told The New York Times in November, a reference to former first lady Michelle Obama’s “When they go low, we go high” speech from the 2016 presidential election.
“But responding doesn’t mean just going down a rabbit hole everywhere Donald Trump goes. It means doing a response but continuing to push your own agenda. I don’t think we want to use those same tactics and tweet caustic comments every morning.”
Klobuchar began 2019 with $3.9 million in her Senate campaign account, according to the most recent Federal Election Commission filings.
While she can transfer that money to her presidential campaign, Klobuchar goes in a bit behind Warren and Gillibrand, who each have north of $10 million.
Klobuchar’s nascent campaign will need to overcome some recent negative headlines about her treatment of staffers.
HuffPost reported that three potential candidates to lead her presidential campaign declined the job, citing the mistreatment of staff.
And BuzzFeed followed up with a story about former staffers complaining about Klobuchar’s temper, accusing her of throwing papers and sending humiliating emails.
Still, several staff defended Klobuchar in the BuzzFeed report, describing her as a thoughtful and caring boss.
In her campaign announcement on Sunday, Klobuchar vowed to supporters she would be a no-nonsense president who would “lead from the heart.”
“As your president, I will look you in the eye,” she said. “I will tell you what I think. I will focus on getting things done.”