Editor’s Note: This article was updated on Jan. 22, 2019.
Sen. Kamala Harris tossed her hat into the 2020 presidential race on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. The former prosecutor made the announcement during her appearance on ABC’s Good Morning America. She also shared a campaign video online.
In addition to commemorating King’s legacy, Harris launched her campaign during the same week that Shirley Chisholm became the first black woman to run for president in a major party in 1972.
Later that day, the Howard University alum held a press conference at the HBCU. “For all voter, we’ve got to reach out to folks. We’ve got to go where they are, understand who they are, listen as much as we talk, and that is certainly what I intend to do as a candidate,” Harris said. “It is my full intention to travel this country, sit in living rooms, listen to families, express concerns about their needs and understand.”
Last year the freshmen senator introduced a bill to combat the black maternal mortality crisis. “Health equity for black women can only happen if we recognize and address persistent biases in our health system,” she said in a statement.
Editor’s Note: This article originally published on Jan. 10, 2019.
Sen. Kamala Harris may officially announce her bid for the White House sometime during MLK weekend, according to inside sources who spoke to KCBS Radio in her home state of California.
Speculation that the Democratic senator will make a run for president next year escalated when she launched a book tour promoting her new memoir, The Truths We Hold: An American Journey, which published Tuesday. When questioned about the 2020 race on her tour, Harris has repeatedly said that she is not ready to announce her decision yet. However, several sources with knowledge of her plans say she and her family are indeed ready for a run.
Sources also say that the 54-year-old freshman senator is still debating on how and where to kick off a presidential campaign. KCBS reports that “the tentative plan is for Harris to enter the race for the Democratic presidential nomination with a campaign rally, most likely in Oakland, where she was born and began her legal career.” However, a spokesperson for Harris told The Hill, that no announcement is imminent and Harris will not be in Oakland during the holiday weekend.
Nonetheless, Harris told CNN’s Jake Tapper on Wednesday that she will make a final decision about 2020 soon and that she truly believes the nation is ready for a woman of color to be president.
“We have to give the American people more credit, and we have to understand that the American public and the people of our country are smart people who will make decisions about who will be their leader based on who they believe is capable, who they believe has an honest desire to lead, to represent, to see them, to be a voice for them even if they have no power,” she said.
Harris made history in 2017 when she became the second African American woman to be sworn into Congress as a U.S. Senator. Altogether, a total of just 10 African Americans have ever served in the U.S. Senate, including former President Barack Obama and Sen. Cory Booker.
If Harris jumps into the 2020 race, she would likely join Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who recently announced an exploratory committee for a presidential bid. Other potential high-profile Democratic candidates include Sen. Booker, Sen. Bernie Sanders, former Vice President Joe Biden, and former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas).