Ohio Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown arrived in South Carolina Friday in the final planned stop on his three-month “Dignity of Work” tour.
The official aim of the tour, which began in January, was to share “some of his ideas to make hard work pay off for everyone.” Unofficially, the tour has been an attempt to “test the waters” to see if he would be a viable candidate for a potential 2020 run. The tour took the Senator to Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, and South Carolina, which are all considered critical battleground states in presidential elections. While it appears he will conclude the tour without announcing his candidacy, the tour did, as far his public statements are concerned, seem to fully convince him that his campaign would have one unassailable advantage over his opponents.
In an interview with Buzzfeed, Brown stated:
It has surprised us that this many people, including Republicans, that this many people have begun to talk about the dignity of work. I don’t think they flesh it out well enough yet or extensively enough. I think they mean it. I don’t mean there’s any insincerity in it. But I think we can’t do it enough … I carry it better than anybody else because it’s who I am, and it’s my career, and nobody can question my authenticity or my genuine feel for this.
This assertion has been the guiding light of his entire pre-campaign strategy since before the Dignity of Work tour began. Brown has emphasized his appeal with both Ohioans and blue-collar workers.
For the Democratic party, there are currently 11 candidates who have either declared their candidacy or launched exploratory committees for a 2020 run. Of these, the candidates considered to be potential front runners are: Sens. Cory Booker, Kristin Gillibrand, Kamala Harris, Amy Klobuchar, Bernie Sanders, and Elizabeth Warren and Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard. Additionally, there are, at a minimum, another 15 potential candidates who have express interest.
Vice President Joe Biden has still not announced whether or not he will run for office yet, but in key state polls he is among the top-ranked 2020 Democratic contenders. Not only is his key voting base the same blue-collar workers as Brown, but due to his strong alliance with President Barack Obama, he would also have significant appeal with African-American voters. This could effectively neutralize Brown’s competitive advantage. However, until either candidate officially announces their run, the point remains moot. When asked what effect, if any, a Biden candidacy would have on his decision to run, Brown stated: “Zero…Between slim and none and slim left town”
Brown is expected to make his announcement within the month.
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