Count Eric Holder out.
While the field of Democratic presidential candidates continues to expand, the attorney general during former President Barack Obama’s administration announced Monday that he won’t be running for the White House in 2020. Instead, Holder said he’ll keep battling to end partisan gerrymandering.
“Though I will not run for president in 2020, I will continue to fight for the future of our country through the National Democratic Redistricting Committee and its affiliates,” Holder wrote in an opinion piece in the Washington Post.
He emphasized that his party’s top priority is to make “sure a Democratic president is sworn in on Jan. 20, 2021. I will do my part to help make that possible, while leading an effort to ensure fairness in our democracy.”
Holder’s visit last June to New Hampshire, the state that holds the first primary, sparked speculation that he was mulling a presidential bid. He headlined "Politics and Eggs," a speaking series that’s a must stop for White House hopefuls. At the time, he said he’d make a decision on a presidential campaign early in 2019.
Speaking with Fox News and other news organizations after his speech, he openly entertained what a matchup would look like between him and Republican President Trump, both natives of the New York City borough of Queens.
“Two guys from Queens. That would be interesting. New Yorkers know how to talk to other New Yorkers,” Holder said with a smile. “The idea of a challenge, yeah that kind of appeals to me.”
Last month, Holder kept alive speculation about a 2020 bid with a trip to Iowa, the state that votes first in the presidential caucus and primary calendar.
Holder, who’s chaired the National Democratic Redistricting Committee the past couple of years, highlighted that “with state legislatures set to begin drawing new voting districts in 2021, what happens in those races over the next two years will shape the next decade of our politics. Our fight to end gerrymandering is about electing leaders who actually work for the interests of the people they are supposed to represent.”
And he vowed that “I will do everything I can to ensure that the next Democratic president is not hobbled by a House of Representatives pulled to the extremes by members from gerrymandered districts.”
Holder urged that Democrats should choose their next presidential nominee based on the candidates’ vision for the nation, integrity, the capacity to handle the demands of the Oval Office, experience and inspiration.
And the 68-year-old Holder added that age should not be an issue.
“In evaluating potential nominees, we should remember that creativity is not limited to the young, nor wisdom to those who are older. We must measure our candidates not by their age, but by the vitality of their ideas,” he said.
Holder urged that the party’s nominee work to “reconstruct the Voting Rights Act to ensure that every American has a full and equal say in our democracy. This is the defining civil rights issue of our time. I know there will be disagreements during this primary season — and I will not be shy about sharing my thoughts.”
As Holder announced he wouldn't run, former two-term Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper launched a presidential campaign. Last Friday, two-term Washington State Gov. Jay Inslee announced his candidacy.
Both candidates face long-shot bids against a number of higher-profile contenders such as Sens. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, Kamala Harris of California, Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Cory Booker of New Jersey, Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, and Kirsten Gillibrand of New York.
Former San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro, who served as Housing and Urban Development secretary under President Barack Obama, is also running, as are Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii, former Rep. John Delaney of Maryland, and South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg.
A number other Democrats are moving toward White House bids, including former Vice President Joe Biden, former Rep. Beto O’Rourke of Texas, Sens. Sherrod Brown of Ohio and Jeff Merkley of Oregon, and Rep. Eric Swalwell of California.