Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio. Despite speaking at a progressive forum with various potential presidential candidates, Brown — who is in the middle of a re-election battle — says he’s not intending to run for the nation’s highest office. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
Photo: Win McNamee
Photo: Win McNamee

Brown’s appearance at forum begs question: Is he running for president?

Hint: He says no.

Brown, D-Ohio, spoke Tuesday at the Center for American Progress in Washington, an event whose speakers included Democratic Senators Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, Cory Booker of New Jersey, Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts — all of whom who are talking about running for president.

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The large turnout, which also included such presidential possibilities as Sen. Bernie Sanders, an independent from Vermont; and Julian Castro, who served as secretary of Housing and Urban Development in the Obama administration, prompted reporters to dub it the first real gathering of presidential hopefuls.

“All of them are talking about running for president: I’m not,” Brown told reporters on a conference call. “That’s not my interest.”

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“I go anywhere where I can talk about Ohio workers, when I can explode the myth that Ohio is the Rust Belt, which demeans who we are and diminishes our work,” Brown said.

“I will take that message wherever I can go and I hope it had an impact on my party both for 2018 and beyond,” Brown said. “But an impact on my party, not an interest in running for president.”

Blaine Kelly, a spokesman for the Ohio Republican Party, said Brown “has aligned himself with the most liberal senators and organizations in the country, putting himself at odds with Ohio values.”

“He must be hoping that the coastal elites who fund his campaigns can buy his re-election and propel him into the 2020 conversation,” Kelly said.

Brown was among the list of candidates Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton considered for a possible running mate in 2016.

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