Senator Elizabeth Warren has taken the first major step towards launching a widely anticipated campaign for the presidency.
“No matter what our differences, most of us want the same thing,” the 69-year-old Massachusetts Democrat said in a video that highlights her family’s history in Oklahoma.
“To be able to work hard, play by the same set of rules and take care of the people we love. That’s what I’m fighting for and that’s why today I’m launching an exploratory committee for president.”
Every person in America should be able to work hard, play by the same set of rules, & take care of themselves & the people they love. That’s what I’m fighting for, & that’s why I’m launching an exploratory committee for president. I need you with me: https://t.co/BNl2I1m8OX pic.twitter.com/uXXtp94EvY— Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) December 31, 2018
Mrs Warren burst onto the national scene a decade ago during the financial crisis with calls for greater consumer protections.
She quickly became one of the party’s more prominent liberals even as she sometimes fought with Obama administration officials over their response to the market turmoil.
Now, as a likely presidential contender, she is making an appeal to the party’s base. Her video notes the economic challenges facing people of colour along with images of a women’s march and Mrs Warren’s participation at an LGBT event.
In an email to supporters, Mrs Warren said she would more formally announce a campaign plan early in 2019.
In mid-December, former Obama housing chief Julian Castro also announced a presidential exploratory committee, which legally allows potential candidates to begin raising money. Outgoing Maryland representative John Delaney is the only Democrat so far to have formally announced a presidential campaign.
But that is likely to change quickly in the new year as other leading Democrats take steps towards White House runs.
Mrs Warren enters a Democratic field that is shaping up as the most crowded in decades, with many of her Senate colleagues openly weighing their own campaigns, as well as governors, mayors and other prominent citizens.
One of her most significant competitors could be senator Bernie Sanders, a Vermont independent who is eyeing another presidential run harnessing the same populist rhetoric.
She must also move past a widely panned October release of a DNA test meant to bolster her claim to Native American heritage.
The move was intended to rebut Mr Trump’s taunts of Mrs Warren as “Pocahontas”. Instead, her use of a genetic test to prove ethnicity spurred controversy that seemed to blunt any argument she sought to make. There was no direct mention of it in the video released on Monday.
Mrs Warren has the benefit of higher name recognition than many others in the Democratic mix for 2020, thanks to her years as a prominent critic of Wall Street who originally conceived of what became the government’s Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
She now faces an arduous battle to raise money and capture Democratic primary voters’ attention before Iowa casts its first vote in more than a year. She has an advantage in the 12.5 million US dollars left over from her 2018 re-election campaign that she could use for a presidential run.