Sen. Sherrod Brown, who won a third term last week to represent Ohio in the U.S. Senate, said Monday he is considering running for president in 2020.
Brown, who won his election by about six percentage points, said he’s hearing “sort of a crescendo” of interest in him seeking the White House, be it through his wife Connie Schultz’s Facebook page, or through calls or emails. “We’re hearing it increase, so we’re thinking about it as a result,” he said.
“We are thinking about it for the first time seriously, but we’re not close to saying yes,” he said.
Brown, speaking not long after an appearance on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” said regardless of whether he runs, he wants Democrats who are seeking the White House to use lessons from his race as a blueprint for how to run in the industrial Midwest.
“I respect the dignity of work, and I think that’s what Washington forgets about,” said Brown on “Morning Joe.”
He said his campaign “was about workers and the direction we need to go,” and said a successful 2020 presidential
While Democrats won back the majority in the House last Tuesday, Ohio Republicans swept the statewide seats and maintained their stronghold on the U.S. House seats in the state. Brown was the exception, despite an often harsh campaign where Republicans brought up his messy and contentious divorce from his first wife. In particular, they highlighted a restraining order she sought against Brown and allegations that he’d physically pushed her aside when entering her home.
But that divorce was decades ago, and his first wife and Brown have mended fences to the point that she appeared on an untelevised campaign ad defending her ex-husband. She’s also hosted fundraisers for Brown and criticized Republicans for using her family life for campaign attacks.
Brown said voters in Ohio ultimately ignored the decades-old divorce because “voters in Ohio trust me.” He said he found irony in the fact that his opponent “attacked my family repeatedly even though I am fighting for Ohio families.”
He admitted a campaign against Trump could be similarly nasty, but he and his family are prepared for the possibility that the divorce could be used again.
Jennifer Duffy of the nonpartisan Cook Political Report said if Brown runs, he’ll have to distinguish himself in what promises to be a crowded field.
“Here’s the problem,” she said. “Everybody’s running. We have this list and in some respects he’s got some catching up to do, even among his Senate colleagues.”
While Brown focused solely on his re-election, other Democrats running for re-election, such as Amy Klobuchar in Minnesota and Elizabeth Warren in Massachusetts were running for re-election while still traveling the country raising money for a potential national bid.
On the upside, she said, “it’s anybody’s game.” And Brown, who has been in politics for decades, is still a new face on the national scene, because he’s only served statewide.
Brown said while some urged him to seek the White House in 2020, he could only focus then on his re-election. But since his win, he said, “it’s been pretty overwhelming.”
“My first mission is to encourage people to start talking about (American workers) more, reaching out to people in the industrial Midwest,” he said. “We’ll see later on about the presidential race. But we are thinking about it for the first time seriously.”