Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) entered the 2020 presidential race Monday, announcing in a television interview that she was running for the Democratic nomination.
“I am running for president of the United States and I’m very excited about it,” she said in a Martin Luther King Day interview on ABC’s “Good Morning America.”
“This is a moment in time where I feel a sense of responsibility to stand up and fight for the best of who we are,” she said.
Harris is a Democratic senator for California and former attorney general in the state.
The 54-year-old, whose bid was widely anticipated, becomes the first African-American to formally enter the 2020 race. In a campaign video released Monday, she framed herself as a champion of equality and justice.
“They’re the values we as Americans cherish, and they’re all on the line now,” she said in the clip. “The future of our country depends on you and millions of others lifting our voices to fight for our American values.”
Harris, the daughter of immigrant parents from Jamaica and India, is a first-term senator who gained a national profile for her prosecutorial style of questioning of President Donald Trump’s cabinet and judicial nominees — particularly during the Kavanaugh confirmation process.
She’s taken progressive positions on healthcare and immigration — including backing Sen. Bernie Sanders’ Medicare For All bill and calling on Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen to resign over child separation policies.
But her past career as a prosecutor may prove problematic for some progressives amid growing public scrutiny of the justice system as a result of the #BlackLivesMatter movement.
A recent New York Times op-ed published accused Harris of being “often on the wrong side of history” during her tenure as California’s AG and claimed she had “fought tooth and nail to uphold wrongful convictions that had been secured through official misconduct.”
Harris’ campaign will formally launch on Jan. 27 and will be headquartered in Baltimore, with a second office in Oakland, the city where the senator was raised.
Harris is entering an already crowded Democratic field with no obvious frontrunner. Fellow senators Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Kirsten Gillibrand of New York have already announced their bids, while a long list of big names — including Sanders, Joe Biden, Cory Booker, Michael Bloomberg, and Beto O’Rourke — are also reportedly considering runs to attempt to unseat Trump.
Cover image: U.S. Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) listens during a Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing with professor Christine Blasey Ford, who has accused U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of a sexual assault in 1982, on Capitol Hill September 27, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Jim Bourg-Pool/Getty Images)