The California Democrat announced his plans on “The Late Show” with host Stephen Colbert.
He also published an op-ed in the San Francisco Chronicle on Monday detailing why he decided to run. Notably, the first issue he raised was gun violence.
“It is astonishing and unacceptable that we have let school massacres become part of daily life,” he wrote. “As a former prosecutor and the father of two young children, I will end this failure of leadership. ... I’m the only candidate calling for a mandatory national ban and buyback of military-style semiautomatic assault weapons. It’s bold and will cost money, but it is constitutional and it rightly treats gun violence as a life-or-death matter.”
He also highlighted his plans to campaign on climate change, health care, foreign policy and student loan debt.
Swalwell, who’s represented a district in California’s San Francisco Bay Area since 2013, joins an increasingly crowded Democratic ticket. In interviews leading up to his announcement, the 38-year-old acknowledged his stiff competition.
The race is “a steep mountain, and the other climbers at the base right now are some of the best and talented,” he told The San Francisco Chronicle’s “It’s All Political” podcast in late February. “And that, of course, is intimidating. But I see a path to the top, and I know what it would take to get me there. I think we could do it.”
Though California’s election rules would allow Swalwell to run for re-election for his House seat and the presidency at the same time, he has repeatedly stated that he won’t do so in an effort to show voters that he’s all in.
Swallwell, a regular presence on cable news shows, has become a prominent voice during the congressional investigations into possible collusion between President Donald Trump’s campaign and Russia during the 2016 election.