Sherrod Brown says he will not run for president

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

Sen. Sherrod BrownSherrod Campbell BrownSenate Democrats call for diversity among new Federal Reserve Bank presidents Waters hopes there's no attempt to make deep cuts to housing proposal America can end poverty among its elderly citizens 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 Cordray.

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 TrumpHarris stumps for McAuliffe in Virginia On The Money — Sussing out what Sinema wants Hillicon Valley — Presented by Xerox — The Facebook Oversight Board is not pleased 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 WarrenDemocrats scramble to reach deal on taxes Ethics office warned officials about unnecessary trades Fed imposes tougher rules on financial trades amid scandal MORE (D-Mass.), Cory BookerCory BookerSenate Democrats call for diversity among new Federal Reserve Bank presidents Progressives push back on decision to shrink Biden's paid family leave program Emanuel to take hot seat in Senate confirmation hearing MORE (D-N.J.) and Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisHarris stumps for McAuliffe in Virginia Biden, Harris mark 10th anniversary of MLK memorial Watch live: Biden, Harris deliver remarks at MLK Jr. Memorial anniversary MORE (D-Calif.), among others.

Also looming over the current field of Democratic contenders is a political giant: former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenBiden: Democrats' spending plan is 'a bigger darn deal' than Obamacare Biden says he's open to altering, eliminating filibuster to advance voting rights Biden: Comment that DOJ should prosecute those who defy subpoenas 'not appropriate' 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 Health Care — Presented by Carequest — Colin Powell's death highlights risks for immunocompromised The Senate confirmation process is broken — Senate Democrats can fix it Australian politician on Cruz, vaccines: 'We don't need your lectures, thanks mate' 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 HolderArkansas legislature splits Little Rock in move that guarantees GOP seats Oregon legislature on the brink as Democrats push gerrymandered maps Christie, Pompeo named co-chairs of GOP redistricting group MORE, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Sen. Jeff MerkleyJeff MerkleySenate Democrats call for diversity among new Federal Reserve Bank presidents Democrats look for plan B on filibuster GOP blocks Senate Democrats' revised elections bill MORE (D-Ore.).

Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonMeghan McCain: 'SNL' parodies made me feel like 'laughing stock of the country' Hill: Trump reelection would spur 'one constitutional crisis after another' Trump defends indicted GOP congressman 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.