Sherrod Brown says he will not run for president

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

Sen. Sherrod BrownSherrod Campbell BrownBipartisan housing finance reform on the road less taken Hillicon Valley: Google to promote original reporting | Senators demand answers from Amazon on worker treatment | Lawmakers weigh response to ransomware attacks Senate Democrats want answers on 'dangerous' Amazon delivery system 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 CordrayTrump administration asks Supreme Court to take up challenge to consumer bureau Watchdog agency must pick a side: Consumers or scammers Kraninger's CFPB gives consumers the tools to help themselves 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 conversation with foreign leader part of complaint that led to standoff between intel chief, Congress: report Pelosi: Lewandowski should have been held in contempt 'right then and there' Trump to withdraw FEMA chief nominee: 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 lead shrinks, Sanders and Warren close gap: poll Defense bill talks set to start amid wall fight Biden allies: Warren is taking a bite out of his electability argument MORE (D-Mass.), Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerBiden lead shrinks, Sanders and Warren close gap: poll Media and candidates should be ashamed that they don't talk about obesity CNN announces details for LGBTQ town hall MORE (D-N.J.) and Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisBiden lead shrinks, Sanders and Warren close gap: poll Defense bill talks set to start amid wall fight Media and candidates should be ashamed that they don't talk about obesity MORE (D-Calif.), among others.

Also looming over the current field of Democratic contenders is a political giant: former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenBiden lead shrinks, Sanders and Warren close gap: poll Biden allies: Warren is taking a bite out of his electability argument Budowsky: Donald, Boris, Bibi — The right in retreat 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 CruzGOP signals unease with Barr's gun plan NRA says Trump administration memo a 'non-starter' Barr fails to persuade Cruz on expanded background checks 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 says Trump is subject to prosecution after leaving office Eric Holder: Democrats 'have to understand' that 'borders mean something' Trump lawyers ask judge to toss out Dems' tax return lawsuit MORE, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Sen. Jeff MerkleyJeffrey (Jeff) Alan MerkleyDefense bill talks set to start amid wall fight DHS officials called lawmaker visit to migrant detention facility a 'Hill stunt' Overnight Health Care: Juul's lobbying efforts fall short as Trump moves to ban flavored e-cigarettes | Facebook removes fact check from anti-abortion video after criticism | Poll: Most Democrats want presidential candidate who would build on ObamaCare MORE (D-Ore.).

Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonQueer Marine veteran launches House bid after incumbent California Rep. Susan Davis announces retirement Poll: Trump neck and neck with top 2020 Democrats in Florida Former immigration judge fined, temporarily banned from federal service for promoting Clinton policies 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.