Sen. Elizabeth Warren took the first official step toward running for president in 2020, launching an exploratory committee on Monday to test out her chances of securing the Democratic nomination.
The Massachusetts Democrat, widely seen as a vanguard of progressivism in her party, joined former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro as the second Democrat to launch an exploratory committee in recent weeks.
To date, Warren is the most high-profile candidate to officially announce she is running or thinking about running.
Warren and Castro join three other people — Maryland Rep. John Delaney, West Virginia state Sen. Richard Ojeda, and entrepreneur Andrew Yang — with explicitly announced presidential ambitions.
In her announcement video posted to YouTube Monday, Warren stressed a message of “middle-out” economics, railing against perceived “corruption” at the top of the Republican-controlled government.
“We can rebuild America’s middle class,” Warren said. “But this time, we got to build it for everyone. … That’s why today I’m launching an exploratory committee for president.”
Warren first won elected office in 2012, defeating Republican incumbent Sen. Scott Brown with 53 percent of the vote.
“I never thought I’d run for office, not in a million years,” Warren said in the video Monday, paid for by her exploratory committee. “But when Republican senators tried to sabotage [financial sector] reforms and run me out of town, I went back to Massachusetts and ran against one of them, and I beat him,” she said.
The former Harvard professor has built her political image on a message opposing unchecked power on Wall Street and creating more opportunities for America’s declining middle class.
She has one of the most progressive voting records in the Senate since joining the chamber in 2013.
Warren won re-election by 24 points in November over Republican challenger Geoff Diehl.
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