Massachusetts Rep. Seth Moulton is the latest Democrat to enter the 2020 presidential race, launching a longshot bid Monday that would make the 40-year-old Marine Corps veteran the youngest president in American history.
“I am here to tell you and to tell America that I am running for President of the United States,” Moulton said in an interview Monday on ABC’s “Good Morning America”
“And I am running because I am a patriot, because I believe in this country and because I have never wanted to sit on the sidelines when it comes to serving it,” Moulton said. “That is why I joined that Marines, it is why I ran for Congress to try to prevent what I saw got us into Iraq from happening again, and it is why I am running to take on the most divisive president in American history to bring this country back together.”
Moulton joins a large – and growing – field of Democratic candidates in 2020. The Massachusetts Democrat is the 19th candidate to announce a presidential campaign and the field is expected to grow this week when Vice President Joe Biden makes his long-anticipated presidential announcement.
In a campaign video posted earlier Monday morning, the Democrat touted his military service and time in Congress and explained why he believes he should be the party’s next presidential nominee.
“Ask anyone who’s lost their job to a changing economy or a child to opioids or has to choose between heat and food in the winter, they’re feeling forgotten,” Moulton said in the video as he laid out policy positions that include growing the economy, confronting climate change and building a cyber wall to protect US elections.
Next up, Moulton has planned a breakneck string of trips to each of the four early nominating states this week.
The congressman will travel to New Hampshire on Tuesday and headline “Politics and Eggs” – the state’s traditional stop for presidential candidates – on Wednesday morning before traveling to South Carolina for events that evening. Moulton will then travel to Iowa on Thursday and Nevada on Friday and Saturday, with a stop in Los Angeles for fundraising and media appearances.
Moulton will center this burst of travel around service events, a throwback to a strategy he used during his longshot 2014 House campaign and, in 2018, how he campaigned for many other Democrats like now-Rep. Andy Kim in New Jersey.
Moulton has inched toward a 2020 run for months, setting a deadline to announce by the end of April. The congressman also began beefing up his policy positions in March to prepare for the likely bid.
Moulton enters the 2020 race as a longshot in the crowded field. First elected in 2014 after serving in the Marine Corps for four tours, Moulton has seen a raised national profile in recent years as he tried – and failed – to oust Nancy Pelosi from House Democratic leadership. Still, he remains a relative unknown.
A Moulton candidacy will center on his age and military experience. The 40-year-old lawmaker has routinely called for a “new generation of leadership” inside the Democratic Party, part of his effort to remove Pelosi. Moulton, in a knock against him with some Democrats, later voted for Pelosi’s speakership after Democrats retook the House in the midterms.
The Moulton campaign will initially be primarily staffed by operatives from Serve America, his national PAC that looked to elect Democratic candidates with either military or other forms of service in their background.
Jim Matheson, a senior lecturer at the Harvard Business School and a veteran, will serve as Moulton’s launch campaign manager, and Michelle Kleppe, the director for the Moulton PAC, will work as the campaign’s political adviser. Matt Corridoni, Moulton’s longtime spokesman and a veteran of former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley’s 2016 campaign, will be the campaign’s national press secretary and Moulton’s senior spokesman.
Moulton’s campaign is expected to focus heavily on veterans’ issues. And, as a symbol of that focus, the campaign has hired Scott Eshom, a Green Beret with the Army’s 5th Special Forces Group, as the campaign’s veterans organizer. The campaign has also hired David Vorland, a former adviser in the Office of the Secretary of Defense under President Barack Obama, as a senior policy adviser focused on foreign policy.