Sherrod Brown says he will not run for president

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

Sen. Sherrod BrownSherrod Campbell BrownWarren, Klobuchar call on FTC to curtail use of non-compete clauses The Hill's Morning Report - Trump, Dems put manufacturing sector in 2020 spotlight Trump faces political risks in fight over GM plant 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 CordraySherrod Brown says he will not run for president CFPB confusing 'freedom of choice' with 'freedom to be fleeced' Consumer bureau chief to face lawmakers for first time since confirmation 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 mocks wind power: 'When the wind doesn't blow, just turn off the television' Pentagon investigator probing whether acting chief boosted former employer Boeing Trump blasts McCain, bemoans not getting 'thank you' for funeral 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 WarrenWarren, Klobuchar call on FTC to curtail use of non-compete clauses Pollster says 'it's certainly not looking good' for Trump ahead of 2020 Big Tech is not the enemy, Sen. Warren MORE (D-Mass.), Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerWarren, Klobuchar call on FTC to curtail use of non-compete clauses Citizens lose when partisans play politics with the federal judiciary Booker opens up about relationship with Rosario Dawson MORE (D-N.J.) and Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisJ.J. Abrams, Shonda Rhimes to host Kamala Harris fundraiser Warren, Klobuchar call on FTC to curtail use of non-compete clauses Pollster says 'it's certainly not looking good' for Trump ahead of 2020 MORE (D-Calif.), among others.

Also looming over the current field of Democratic contenders is a political giant: former Vice President Joe BidenJoseph (Joe) Robinette BidenPollster says 'it's certainly not looking good' for Trump ahead of 2020 Republican strategist predicts his 2020 Dem primary final four The Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump feuds heat up 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 CruzO'Rourke raised .1 million from over 128,000 donors on campaign's first day O'Rourke on Israeli-Palestinian conflict: 'We don't have the best negotiating partners on either side' O'Rourke: 'I think we can win Texas' in 2020 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 HolderThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump steps up attacks on McCain Court-packing becomes new litmus test on left Press: Which way do Dems go in 2020? MORE, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Sen. Jeff MerkleyJeffrey (Jeff) Alan MerkleyBusiness groups urge Congress to combat LGBTQ discrimination in workplace Overnight Energy: EPA moves to raise ethanol levels in gasoline | Dems look to counter White House climate council | Zinke cleared of allegations tied to special election Will Washington finally do something about high drug prices? MORE (D-Ore.).

Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonTrump mocks wind power: 'When the wind doesn't blow, just turn off the television' Trump's approval rating stable at 45 percent Kellyanne Conway: 'I think my gender helps me with the president' 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.