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: Judge upholds House subpoena for Trump financial records | Trump vows to appeal ruling by 'Obama-appointed judge' | Canada, Mexico lift retaliatory tariffs on US | IRS audit rate falls Lawmakers grapple with the future of America's workforce The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Pass USMCA Coalition - Restrictive state abortion laws ignite fiery 2020 debate 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 CordrayHouse rebukes Mulvaney's efforts to rein in consumer bureau The road to the White House still goes through Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan announces presidential run 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 TrumpA better VA, with mental health services, is essential for America's veterans Pelosi, Nadler tangle on impeachment, contempt vote Trump arrives in Japan to kick off 4-day state visit 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 WarrenGillibrand seizes on abortion debate to jump-start campaign CEO pay rising twice as fast as worker pay: AP Senate Democrats to House: Tamp down the impeachment talk MORE (D-Mass.), Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerGillibrand seizes on abortion debate to jump-start campaign 2020 hopeful John Delaney unveils T climate plan Harris readies a Phase 2 as she seeks to rejuvenate campaign MORE (D-N.J.) and Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisSan Francisco police chief apologizes for raid on journalist's home Gillibrand seizes on abortion debate to jump-start campaign Senate Democrats to House: Tamp down the impeachment talk MORE (D-Calif.), among others.

Also looming over the current field of Democratic contenders is a political giant: former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenGiuliani meets with former Ukrainian diplomat to get info on Dems Gillibrand seizes on abortion debate to jump-start campaign DNC boss says candidates to be involved in debate lottery 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 CruzOn The Money: Conservative blocks disaster relief bill | Trade high on agenda as Trump heads to Japan | Boeing reportedly faces SEC probe over 737 Max | Study finds CEO pay rising twice as fast as worker pay Conservative blocks House passage of disaster relief bill The Hill's Morning Report — After contentious week, Trump heads for Japan 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 HolderEric Holder: 'There are grounds for impeachment' in Mueller report Prosecutor appointed by Barr poised to enter Washington firestorm Dems struggle to make Trump bend on probes MORE, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Sen. Jeff MerkleyJeffrey (Jeff) Alan MerkleyHillicon Valley: Assange hit with 17 more charges | Facebook removes record 2.2B fake profiles | Senate passes anti-robocall bill | Senators offer bill to help companies remove Huawei equipment The Hill's 12:30 Report: Pelosi fires back in feud with Trump Senators introduce bill to end warrantless searches of electronic devices at border MORE (D-Ore.).

Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonHillary Clinton slams Trump for spreading 'sexist trash' about Pelosi Gillibrand seizes on abortion debate to jump-start campaign DNC boss says candidates to be involved in debate lottery 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.