Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) dropped a hammer this week when she announced that her campaign for president would reject fundraisers, dinners, receptions, or phone calls with high-dollar donors — putting the rest of the Democratic field on notice.
So how will other 2020 Democrats respond?
On Monday, IJR caught up with Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), who hasn’t officially declared his candidacy but sure is spending a lot of time in Iowa. The Buckeye State Democrat said that while he hasn’t decided if his campaign would court wealthy donors, he won’t weigh in on Warren’s “tactics.”
“I don’t have any thoughts on any of my other — of the people running for president,” Brown told IJR, stopping short of a possible 2020 slip-up. “I’m just not going to talk about tactics.”
When pressed on whether or not he, in fact, viewed Warren’s announcement as simply a political tactic, Brown walked back his comment.
“I’m not even saying … I’m just not gonna comment on how people run their campaigns,” he said. “If I wasn’t considering running, I wouldn’t comment on it, and I am considering, so I’m not commenting.”
And when asked directly if his potential 2020 campaign would swear off high-dollar fundraisers and receptions, the Ohio senator dodged the question, refusing to commit either way.
“I don’t see that as … I don’t … I haven’t made a decision about that because I’m not a candidate. I’ll make it when I’m a candidate, if I am,” Brown told IJR.
Brown’s been crisscrossing around the major 2020 primary states for weeks now on his “Dignity of Work Tour” and is set to travel to the major early primary state of South Carolina later this week.
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), who announced her 2020 candidacy back in January, is also facing tough questions in light of Warren’s new pledge this week. The New York senator appeared to have trouble defending high-dollar fundraising during a recent Fox News interview, saying that while she doesn’t agree with the Massachusetts senator, “you do need to get money out of politics.”
In her announcement on Monday, Warren said her campaign is “not for sale.”
“The Democratic primary is the time when we get to make choices — and make a difference. Democrats deserve a chance to choose a nominee whose time is not for sale to people who can write big checks,” Warren wrote.
“My presidential primary campaign will be run on the principle of equal access for anybody who joins it,” she added.