Minnesota senator Amy Klobuchar announces run for presidential office

Illustration by Anna Rasmus.

Illustration by Anna Rasmus.

In the midst of a snowstorm on Feb. 10, Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar announced at a rally in Minneapolis that she is running for president in 2020.

Born in Plymouth, Minnesota, Klobuchar went on to graduate from Yale University and University of Chicago Law School. In 1998 she was elected county attorney for Hennepin County where she worked for eight years. In 2006 Klobuchar received the DFL endorsement for the Senate race and she went on to win by a notable margin, and she was then reelected in 2012 and 2018. Her first Senate win in 2006 was significant in that she is the first woman elected to the position of U.S. Senator from Minnesota.

Former Senate District 7 DFL Chairman John Schwetman, also a professor at UMD, gave his perspective on Klobuchar’s announcement.

“Within the DFL it’s been, people are excited about it,” Schwetman said. “Every time a local—someone from Minnesota—runs for president I think people want to rally around her.”

In the past, former senator Walter Mondale of Minnesota was the vice president of President Jimmy Carter, but when he ran for president he was unsuccessful. There are some challenges that Klobuchar will face as well.

“She’s one of at least a dozen people who are at the same status right now [2020 Democratic candidate] who are struggling to get attention,” Schwetman said. “No question Klobuchar is very well-recognized at the state level. The big challenge for her is breaking beyond state recognition into national recognition.”

Because of Klobuchar’s history as someone who is able to work between parties, she may be able to overcome challenges.

“She’s a centrist—she’s a pragmatic, very knowledgeable candidate,” Schwetman said. “She knows how to manage an office. She built her successful Senate run based off of her work in the Hennepin district attorney.”

Klobuchar is already facing one criticism, though. Some former members of her staff have come forward saying she is too tough on her employees. Others have criticized these claims by saying they only perceive her as an unreasonable boss because she’s a woman in a leadership position.

“A good competent manager is going to rub people the wrong way on occasion,” Schwetman said. “What gets the job done might not be the thing that helps everyone’s feelings.”

However, what winning could boil down to is who puts together the best team.

“You can tell a lot about a candidate by the campaign team they put together,” Schwetman said.

“There’s sort of two groups out there right now: the American public and the Democratic party. What America likes in a president is one thing, but from a party perspective the best candidate is one who puts together a team of really knowledgeable people.”

Perhaps one of the most pressing questions Democrats are facing is who will be the best candidate to run against President Trump.

“Klobuchar is a great candidate to run against Trump because he’s a radical on the right,” Schwetman said. “One option would be to run an equally far to the left. It would be smart for the party to run a moderate like Klobuchar, appeal to the vast middle.”

NewsRen Friemann