Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisBuilding back a better vice presidency Stacey Abrams nominated to board of solar energy firm Emhoff lights first candle in National Menorah-lighting ceremony MORE (D-Calif.) on Monday announced she will run for president in 2020.
"I am running for president of the United States," she said on ABC's "Good Morning America."
"I'm very excited about it."
Harris, 54, has long been considered a possible front-runner for the 2020 Democratic nomination, and speculation that she would enter the race mounted earlier this month when she launched a book tour and media blitz to promote her memoir, "The Truths We Hold: An American Journey."
The senator, who will stress equality, decency, justice and democracy in her campaign, will use the slogan “For the people.”
Harris, who was first elected to the Senate in 2016, is a former California attorney general.
"My entire career has been focused on keeping people safe," she said on ABC.
"When I look at this moment in time, I know the American people deserve to have someone who is going to fight for them ... and put them in front of self-interest."
Harris, whose parents were involved in the civil rights movement, said she was honored to make the announcement on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
"Today, the day we celebrate Dr. King, is a very special day for all of us as Americans, and I'm honored to be able to make my announcement on the day that we commemorate him," she said.
Earlier this month, she that she believes the U.S. is "absolutely" ready for a woman of color to be president.
"Is this country, after what [President] Trump has unleashed and what we have seen, ready for the first woman of color president?" co-host Abby Huntsman asked Harris on ABC's "The View."
"Absolutely," Harris responded. "Listen — I’m not saying that about myself, but I am saying that about the capacity of the American public."
"We need to give the American public more credit," she said. "Give the people more credit. They are smarter than that."
Harris also said at the time that she believes Americans look to leadership to see "commonality" rather than "if a leader is the gender or the race that we prefer."
"When people are waking up in the middle of the night with the thing that has been weighing on them ... they aren't waking up thinking that thought through the lens of the party with which they’re registered to vote," Harris said. "When they wake up thinking that thought, they are not thinking it through some demographic upholster."
"When they wake up thinking that thought, it usually has to do with one of very few things: It usually has to do with their personal health, about their children or their parents," she said. "Can I get a job? Keep a job? Pay the bills by the end of the month? Retire with dignity?"
"The vast majority of us have so much more in common than what separates us," she added.
Harris will officially launch her campaign at a rally in her hometown of Oakland, Calif., on Sunday.
She joins what is expected to be a crowded Democratic primary field.
Two of her Democratic Senate colleagues — Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenSenate GOP blocks defense bill, throwing it into limbo Restless progressives eye 2024 Poll: Harris, Michelle Obama lead for 2024 if Biden doesn't run MORE (Mass.) and Kirsten GillibrandKirsten GillibrandKlobuchar confident spending bill will be finished before Christmas Five ways Senate could change Biden's spending plan This Thanksgiving, skip the political food fights and talk UFOs instead MORE (N.Y.) — recently announced presidential exploratory committees.
Republican National Committee spokesman Michael Ahrens said Harris “is arguably the least vetted Democrat running for president, but it’s already clear how unqualified and out-of-touch she is.”
“Her hometown paper says she was a bad manager as attorney general, and all she has to show for her brief time in the Senate is a radically liberal voting record,” Ahrens said in a statement.
Harris is averaging 5 percent support in recent polling on possible 2020 Democratic presidential candidates, according to RealClearPolitics.
--Jessie Hellmann contributed to this breaking news report, which was updated at 11:06 a.m.
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