Klobuchar jumps into 2020 race

Sen. Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharThe Hill's Coronavirus Report: Stagwell President Mark Penn says Trump is losing on fighting the virus; Fauci says U.S. 'going in the wrong direction' in fight against virus Hillicon Valley: Facebook takes down 'boogaloo' network after pressure | Election security measure pulled from Senate bill | FCC officially designating Huawei, ZTE as threats Democrats, voting rights groups pressure Senate to approve mail-in voting resources MORE (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 TrumpDonald John TrumpHouse panel approves 0.5B defense policy bill House panel votes against curtailing Insurrection Act powers after heated debate House panel votes to constrain Afghan drawdown, ask for assessment on 'incentives' to attack US troops MORE.

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."

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"Our sense of community is fracturing across our nation, worn 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 BookerCory Anthony BookerGOP senators debate replacing Columbus Day with Juneteenth as a federal holiday House to pass sweeping police reform legislation Police reform in limbo after Senate setback MORE (D-N.J.), Kirsten GillibrandKirsten GillibrandDemocratic lawmakers call for expanding, enshrining LGBTQ rights The Hill's 12:30 Report: Fauci 'aspirationally hopeful' of a vaccine by winter The Hill's Morning Report - Officials crack down as COVID-19 cases soar MORE (D-N.Y.), Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenHouse Armed Services votes to make Pentagon rename Confederate-named bases in a year Overnight Defense: House panel votes to ban Confederate flag on all Pentagon property | DOD report says Russia working to speed US withdrawal from Afghanistan | 'Gang of Eight' to get briefing on bounties Thursday Liberal veterans group urges Biden to name Duckworth VP MORE (D-Mass.) and Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisLiberal veterans group urges Biden to name Duckworth VP GOP senators debate replacing Columbus Day with Juneteenth as a federal holiday If only woke protesters knew how close they were to meaningful police reform MORE (D-Calif.).

Other senators are still weighing 2020 bids including Sens. Bernie SandersBernie SandersHickenlooper beats back progressive challenge in Colorado primary Progressive groups urge Biden to tap Warren as running mate Young Turks host says Elizabeth Warren should be Biden's VP pick MORE (I-Vt.), a progressive stalwart, and Sherrod BrownSherrod Campbell BrownSenate Dems request briefing on Russian bounty wire transfers On The Money: Mnuchin, Powell differ over how soon economy will recover | Millions fear eviction without more aid from Congress | IRS chief pledges to work on tax code's role in racial wealth disparities IRS chief pledges to work with Congress on examining tax code's role in racial wealth disparities MORE (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.

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In 2018, Klobuchar cruised to win a third Senate term, despite Democratic presidential nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonRepublican Nicole Malliotakis wins New York primary to challenge Max Rose Trump's evangelical approval dips, but remains high How Obama can win back millions of Trump voters for Biden MORE 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. She was referring to an ongoing debate among Democrats, sparked by former first lady Michelle ObamaMichelle LeVaughn Robinson ObamaDemocrats debate Biden effort to expand map against Trump Michelle Obama presents Beyoncé with Humanitarian Award at BET Awards: 'You inspire all of us' Voting by mail is now a necessity during COVID-19 MORE’s “When they go low, we go high” speech from the 2016 presidential election, about how to acknowledge Republican attacks.

“But responding doesn’t mean just going down a rabbit hole everywhere Donald Trump goes," she continued. "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."