WASHINGTON — Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., became the first major Democrat to take an official step towards running for president in 2020, by launching an exploratory committee on Monday.
A source familiar with Warren’s thinking told Yahoo News that the announcement was part of a deliberate strategy to give her a jump on building campaign operations and traveling to key early primary states.
Warren announced the move in a video that emphasized her roots in Oklahoma and her work as an educator, academic and advocate for increased regulation of the financial industry. Warren framed the trajectory of her career as being focused on answering “why America’s promise works for some families but others who work just as hard slip through the cracks into disaster.”
“Working families today face a lot tougher path than my family did, and families of color face a path that is steeper and rockier, a path made even harder by the impact of generations of discrimination,” Warren says in the clip.
In the video, Warren also says “America’s middle class is under attack” thanks to “corruption” that has benefited “billionaires and big corporations.” The clip notes that she entered politics as a major force behind the creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, an agency designed to serve as a watchdog over the financial industry, but whose activities have been dramatically curbed by the Trump administration.
While some Democratic operatives questioned the wisdom of making a major announcement during the New Year holiday, when fewer Americans may be watching the news, the source familiar with Warren’s thinking said her primary concern was getting an early start on campaign activities.
“It was about building an apparatus, identifying and hiring staff, building out operations, and plan for early states,” the source said.
The source added that Warren will be traveling to key early states soon. The timing of her announcement means that she is set to become the first official Democratic candidate to visit the early primary states. Her new campaign apparatus will allow her to create a robust staff and travel with a higher profile.
With an exceptionally crowded field of likely Democratic candidates, Warren and other leading hopefuls have already begun making visits and placing allies in key states. Several of her Senate colleagues are considering jumping into the race in the coming months, including Sens. Kamala Harris of California, Cory Booker of New Jersey, and Kirsten Gillibrand of New York. High-profile candidates like Vermont independent Sen. Bernie Sanders and former Vice President Joe Biden, D-Del., could also shake up the primary.
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