Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota signaled on Tuesday she could become the next Democrat to enter the presidential contest, teasing a major announcement on Sunday in Minneapolis.
“Come to Boom Island in Minnesota ... and you’ll find out,” she told MSNBC host Rachel Maddow. “Then you’ll find out my decision.”
She didn’t offer further details about whether the event would serve as a formal campaign launch.
Klobuchar is far from a household name, but she has a lot going for her.
As my colleague David Byler pointed out, she won by more than 20 points in 2018, racking up wins in rural, pro-Trump regions. If she announces, she would be so far the only Democrat in the 2020 ring who is not from an urban center. She may be well positioned to win in the state next door, Iowa. (She can talk dairy farms and soybeans with the best of them.)
She shouldn’t be stereotyped as “Minnesota nice,” in part because she is an infamously tough boss on Capitol Hill and also has shown steely reserve and a prosecutorial instinct in knocking down recalcitrant witnesses. (Her grilling of now-Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh was a quintessential Klobuchar moment.)
She has developed some expertise on drug costs, which could be a top issue in 2020, and gained some foreign policy experience at the side of Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), with whom she developed a warm relationship. (On his passing, she put out a statement that included this: “In the Senate, he was a mentor to so many senators: he taught us how to work with leaders on the world stage, and he taught us how to work with each other regardless of party back at home.”)
She was a co-sponsor of the Honest Ads Act, designed to force social media platforms to provide greater transparency and hinder foreign interference in our elections. (The bill is aimed at "updating our laws to ensure that political ads sold online are covered by the same rules as TV or radio stations — and make them public so Americans can see who is trying to influence them.”)
If she enters the race, she’d be the first candidate in the so-called moderate lane. She favors expanded health-care coverage but declined to sign onto Sen. Bernie Sanders’s Medicare-for-all bill. She won’t pound the table to eliminate Immigration and Customs Enforcement nor to slash the defense budget.
Aside from ideology, it’s her disposition that most separates her from the field of high-wattage, inspirational voices that are populating the presidential field. “In an era of Twitter rants and senatorial showboats, she is the worker bee in the background, tallying up how many of her bills get signed into law: 24, she said, since Mr. Trump became president,” the New York Times reported recently.
If one thinks that the country is ready for a sober, calm and self-contained figure, someone in control of her emotions and in command of her facts, Klobuchar might be the right candidate. Her biggest problem might arise if former vice president Joe Biden, cast in the role of Democratic centrist, enters the race.
She’ll need to use Iowa as a springboard to propel her to the top echelon of candidates, a tough but not impossible task. She has at least as good a chance as the half dozen or so U.S. senators who conceivably could run. And if she doesn’t make the top of the ticket, she might provide the right balance as a running mate for a more progressive presidential candidate.
The Democratic race is getting predictably crowded — and we all know that we haven’t seen the last candidate to enter the fray.