Presidential exploratory committee launched to support Sen. Sherrod Brown

Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio. File photo
Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio. File photo
Updated: Dec. 17, 2018 at 8:38 PM EST
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CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown seems to be inching closer toward a presidential bid.

On Monday, the Committee to Draft Sherrod Brown for President 2020 launched in earnest.

Co-chaired by Cleveland attorney and educator Michael Wagner and Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley, the committee says it will advocate for Brown’s candidacy and amplify his “dignity of work” messaging.

“Sherrod developed and executed a blueprint for how Democrats can win back voters who believed that Republicans would address the real problems affecting American families,” said Wagner, who previously served as campaign finance chair for Brown’s 2012 reelection.

He added, “Sherrod’s message of optimism and belief in the exceptionalism of American workers paves the way to get a real champion for working people in the White House.”

Despite being a Democrat in a state that President Donald Trump won by eight points in 2016, Brown’s potential candidacy was buoyed by a six-point victory in his November reelection. He won seven Ohio counties carried by Trump.

Whaley said that Brown is a “winning example of populism without division,” drawing upon Trump’s “America First” populism that continues to resonate in the state, though promising a less divisive version.

Brown may be moving toward officially declaring his candidacy, but he still has a lot of work to do with voters outside Ohio.

In a new Des Moines Register/CNN/Mediacom poll of likely Democratic caucusgoers in Iowa, Brown posted a 23 percent favorable rating, with 8 percent unfavorable and 69 percent not sure.

In terms of name recognition, those numbers him significantly behind former Vice President Joe Biden, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and New Jersey Senator Cory Booker.

One advantage to Brown’s lack of name recognition, however, is his unfavorables.

With just 8 percent viewing him unfavorably, he tied with Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar and Washington Governor Jay Inslee for the lowest unfavorable rating in the entire field.

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