Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., formally announced a presidential bid Sunday afternoon at Boom Island Park in Minneapolis, adding her to a growing field of female candidates in the Democratic primary race.
Klobuchar, who gained national attention after speaking at the confirmation hearings for Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh last fall, has served in the Senate since 2007. She was the first female from Minnesota elected to the United States Senate.
“I am running for this job for everyone who wants their work [to be] recognized and rewarded. I am running for every parent who wants a better world for their kid,” Klobuchar said in her speech. “I’m running for every student who wants a good education. For every senior who wants affordable prescription drugs. For every farmer, dreamer and builder. I am running for every American.”
After announcing her presidential bid, Klobuchar highlighted a number of issues her candidacy would focus on, including immigration, health care, education and climate change.
“Let’s see those obstacles as our path. There are insidious voices every day trying to make it harder to vote, trying to drown out our voices with money,” she said. “It is time to organize, time to galvanize, time to take back our democracy.”
Speakers at the announcement event included DFL Gov. Tim Walz and Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan, Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey and Sen. Tina Smith, D-Minn.
“We know that [Klobuchar] is one of the most effective senators in the country,” Smith said. “Despite the gridlocks and the grandstanding, Amy finds a way to fight through the politics and get big things done for people.”
Event attendee Karissa Pecinovsky said she's wanted Klobuchar to run for president since 2016 and that Klobuchar’s ideas line up with hers.
“And I think that she’s a smart, articulate, inspiring woman,” Pecinovsky said. “And I thought, I don’t care how much snow and how much traffic or how many people, I’m going to come and see her and shake her hand, and I did.”
University of Minnesota student Noelle Dyalsingh said she’s looking for an inclusive candidate.
“Women, people of color, any sort of minority group, LGBTQ+,” Dyalsingh said. “Just [someone] who’s willing to support and stand for everyone.”
Not everyone at the event was supportive of a Klobuchar presidential run. Mike Madden, a St. Paul resident, described himself as an anti-war advocate and carried a sign that read, “No war 2020” and “No Klobuchar."
“She has her upside, but I really, really need to see her turn around on her very hawkish foreign policies,” said Madden.
Heather Wilson, who recently moved from Washington, D.C., said that she is undecided on what candidate she would want to vote for in 2020. She attended the event to learn more about Klobuchar.
“I have to go back ... and just see how all the candidates kind of differentiate themselves,” Wilson said.
Other Democratic leaders who have announced their candidacy for the 2020 presidential election include Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Sen. Kamala Harris of California and Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey.
Klobuchar won re-election for her third Senate term last November with more than 60 percent of the vote over her opponent Jim Newberger.
To win the democratic nomination, Klobuchar will need to do well in the Iowa caucus, said Larry Jacobs, a professor at the University Center for the Study of Politics and Governance.
“She’s going to have to do well in Iowa and then use that to kind of boomerang herself forward,” Jacobs said. "You’ve got other candidates that are going to have far more money and staffing. ... Klobuchar’s not going to have that luxury.”
Next week, Klobuchar will begin a multi-state tour with stops to Wisconsin and Iowa, according to a press release.
Clarification: Amy Klobuchar was the first woman elected to the United States Senate.