MINNEAPOLIS — Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) announced Sunday that she will seek the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, entering an already crowded field of candidates looking to challenge President Donald Trump.
“I stand before you as the granddaughter of an iron ore miner, the daughter of a teacher and a newspaperman, the first woman elected to the United States Senate from the state of Minnesota, to announce my candidacy for president of the United States,” Klobuchar said during a snowy rally in Minneapolis.
Klobuchar is one of several Democratic senators running, and among several women in the field, already considered the most diverse pool in history. She said she will campaign at a time when the country is worn down by the “petty and vicious” nature of U.S. politics.
“We are all tired of the shutdowns and the putdowns, the gridlock and the grandstanding,” she added. “Our nation must be governed not from chaos but from opportunity. Not by wallowing over what’s wrong, but by marching inexorably toward what’s right.”
First elected in 2006 after serving as a county prosecutor, the three-term Minnesota senator has been a formidable Trump critic, particularly in questioning the president’s appointees during Senate confirmation hearings, such as then-Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
As the top Democrat on the Senate Rules Committee, she helped spearhead Capitol Hill lawmakers’ overhaul of their arcane system of addressing sexual misconduct claims, catalyzed by the Me Too movement. Among several lawmakers who resigned or retired after sexual misconduct allegations was Klobuchar’s colleague, then-Minnesota Sen. Al Franken (D).
In addition to serving as a foil to Trump, Klobuchar hopes to capitalize on her Midwestern roots as an asset, given how Trump’s 2016 victory hinged on narrow victories in nearby states like Michigan and Wisconsin.
“She’s the woman for the job,” said Minneapolis resident Brenda Kivi, who attended Sunday’s rally with her husband, Bruce. “She’s got a lot of heart and compassion for others. There’s too much divisiveness right now; we need someone to bring people together.”
Despite her personable public image, Klobuchar has a reputation for mistreating her staff, leading to high staff turnover rates in her Capitol Hill office, and difficulties securing people to helm her potential 2020 campaign, as HuffPost reported earlier this month.
Klobuchar on Sunday acknowledged the reports for the first time publicly, telling reporters that she “can be tough.”
“Yes, I can push people,” she said. “I have high expectations for myself, I have high expectations for the people that work for me, but I have high expectations for this country. ... In the end there are so many great stories of our staff that have been with me for years.”
In a roughly 25-minute speech Sunday in Minneapolis’ Boom Island Park, Klobuchar outlined some of the progressive issues that will make up the centerpiece of her 2020 campaign, including campaign finance reform, climate change, universal health care and tax reform.
“As your president, I will look you in the eye. I will tell you what I think. I will focus on getting things done. That’s what I’ve done my whole life,” she said. “And no matter what, I’ll lead from the heart.”
In January, Klobuchar said that she was nearing a decision about a 2020 bid, consulting with family, friends and advisers.
“I do think with a field this big, you don’t have the luxury of waiting for six months or something like that,” she told the Minneapolis Star Tribune. “There’ll be raising money issues, you have issues of hiring people and starting an organization. So all of those things would dictate that you have to make a decision sooner rather than later.”
Watch Klobuchar’s entire 2020 announcement below.
Hayley Miller contributed reporting.