US Sen. Sherrod Brown said Thursday he will not run for president in 2020, becoming the latest Democrat to bow out of the White House race, the AP reports. His decision comes after recent visits to several early-voting states to highlight his worker-friendly policy agenda. Brown said he believed his "dignity of work" tour succeeded in putting the struggles of average Americans on Democrats' 2020 radar and that he "can be most effective" by remaining in the Senate. "I fight best when I bring joy to the battle," he told home-state reporters. "And I find that joy fighting for Ohio in the Senate." Brown said he will continue to call out President Donald Trump's "phony populism" from his perch in the Senate and will "do everything I can to elect a Democratic president and a Democratic Senate in 2020."
The 66-year-old, well known for his progressive populism, had emerged as a potentially strong challenger to Trump after winning re-election in November in a state that Trump carried by nearly 11 percentage points in 2016. Brown's victory was powered by strong support in many blue-collar areas of the state where Trump had prevailed. Several other Democrats, including Hillary Clinton, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley, and former Attorney General Eric Holder, announced this week that they would not join a presidential primary already packed with a dozen candidates. Democrats are awaiting word from former Vice President Joe Biden and former Texas Rep. Beto O'Rourke about whether they will undertake highly anticipated campaigns that could reshape the race. (Beto says he's "excited" to announce his decision about his political future "soon." Meanwhile, Trump is most concerned about Biden.)