Sherrod Brown says he will not run for president

Sherrod Brown says he will not run for president
© Greg Nash

Sen. Sherrod BrownSherrod Campbell BrownOn The Money: Trump asks Supreme Court to block Dem subpoena for financial records | Kudlow 'very optimistic' for new NAFTA deal | House passes Ex-Im Bank bill opposed by Trump, McConnell Warren, Brown press IRS on study reviewing Free File program Sunday shows — New impeachment phase dominates MORE (D-Ohio) announced Thursday that he will not mount a 2020 bid for the White House, saying that he believes the best way for him to serve the country is in the Senate. 

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“I will keep calling out Donald Trump and his phony populism. I will keep fighting for all workers across the country. And I will do everything I can to elect a Democratic President and a Democratic Senate in 2020," Brown said in a statement.

"The best place for me to make that fight is in the United States Senate.”

Speculation of a 2020 run for Brown had swirled after he won reelection to his Senate seat in November despite losses by other Ohio Democrats, including gubernatorial candidate Richard CordrayRichard Adams CordrayDemocrats jump into Trump turf war over student loans Supreme Court agrees to hear challenge to consumer agency On The Money: Tax, loan documents for Trump properties reportedly showed inconsistencies | Tensions flare as Dems hammer Trump consumer chief | Critics pounce as Facebook crypto project stumbles MORE.

That win was seen by many as a sign of the senator’s political strength in the Midwest, a region that Democrats are eager to win in 2020 after President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump reversed course on flavored e-cigarette ban over fear of job losses: report Trump to award National Medal of Arts to actor Jon Voight Sondland notified Trump officials of investigation push ahead of Ukraine call: report MORE seized it in 2016 on the way to an Electoral College victory.

In January, Brown rolled out his “Dignity of Work” tour, a cross-country expedition that brought him to several key early primary states and further fueled speculation of a potential presidential run.

Brown on Thursday said that he would continue to push his “dignity of work” message in the presidential race but not do so as a candidate.

“We’ve seen candidates begin taking up the dignity of work fight, and we have seen voters across the country demanding it — because dignity of work is a value that unites all of us,” Brown said.

“It is how we beat Trump, and it is how we should govern,” he added. “That’s why I’m confident it will continue to be a focus for Democrats in 2020, and I plan on making sure that happens.”

Had he entered the race, he would have faced a crowded Democratic primary field that already includes a handful of his Senate colleagues: Sens. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenBiden says he won't legalize marijuana because it may be a 'gateway drug' Democrats seize on report of FedEx's Elizabeth Warren tax bill to slam Trump's tax plan Warren 'fully committed' to 'Medicare for All' MORE (D-Mass.), Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerBiden says he won't legalize marijuana because it may be a 'gateway drug' New poll catapults Buttigieg to frontrunner position in Iowa Deval Patrick: a short runway, but potential to get airborne MORE (D-N.J.) and Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisIf we want to save earth, we need to change how we eat New poll shows four top-tier 2020 candidates in Iowa The Democratic race for president may not sort itself out MORE (D-Calif.), among others.

Also looming over the current field of Democratic contenders is a political giant: former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenSondland notified Trump officials of investigation push ahead of Ukraine call: report Biden says he won't legalize marijuana because it may be a 'gateway drug' Impeachment hearings don't move needle with Senate GOP MORE, who is said to be nearing a 2020 announcement.

Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas), who garnered rockstar status last year during his Senate bid against Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzOvernight Defense: Erdoğan gets earful from GOP senators | Amazon to challenge Pentagon cloud contract decision in court | Lawmakers under pressure to pass benefits fix for military families Erdoğan gets earful from GOP senators at White House Senators confirm Erdoğan played 'propaganda' video in White House meeting MORE (R-Texas), is also considering a presidential run of his own.

While Brown’s supporters extolled him as an authentic populist capable of winning the Midwestern and Rust Belt states that Trump carried in 2016, he would have likely faced a steep climb to the Democratic nomination, especially faced with more well-known and vocal primary challengers.

In putting his 2020 ambitions to rest, Brown becomes the latest Democrat to duck out of a potential presidential run this week.

Since Monday, three other would-be candidates have announced that they won’t mount White House bids, including former Attorney General Eric HolderEric Himpton HolderPelosi refers to Sinclair's Rosen as 'Mr. Republican Talking Points' over whistleblower question Krystal Ball: Billionaires panicking over Sanders candidacy Obama celebrates 'great night for our country' after Democrats' victories in Virginia and Kentucky MORE, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Sen. Jeff MerkleyJeffrey (Jeff) Alan MerkleyDemocrats seize on report of FedEx's Jeff Merkley tax bill to slam Trump's tax plan Overnight Energy: Perry replacement faces Ukraine questions at hearing | Dem chair demands answers over land agency's relocation | Ocasio-Cortez, Sanders unveil 0B Green New Deal public housing plan Ocasio-Cortez, Sanders unveil 0B Green New Deal public housing plan MORE (D-Ore.).

Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonImpeachment hearings don't move needle with Senate GOP GOP divided over impeachment trial strategy 'Too Far Left' hashtag trends on Twitter MORE, the Democratic Party’s 2016 nominee, also said she would not run, though she had not been considered likely to launch a campaign.

--Updated at 1 p.m.