Tri-Valley Congressman Eric Swalwell officially has his eye on the biggest seat in Washington, D.C., confirming Monday that he will be running for the Democratic Party's nomination for U.S. President in 2020.
Swalwell, a 38-year-old Dublin native in his fourth term in the U.S. House of Representatives, has been a visible critic of the Trump administration and an active voice in national news and on social media, especially around topics such as gun violence, immigration, national security and presidential integrity.
"I'm ready to solve these problems. I'm running for President of the United States ... It's official; boy did it feel good to say that," Swalwell said during a taping of "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert," which aired Monday night.
Swalwell, who's been the subject of presidential campaign conjecture for months, confirmed his bid for the first time late Monday afternoon by releasing a snippet of his "Late Show" appearance as part of a campaign ad on social media. His campaign slogan is "Go Big. Be Bold. Do Good."
He is the 18th Democratic candidate to enter the race for the party's nomination to face off against President Donald Trump in the 2020 election.
In an email to the Weekly, Swalwell said of his White House bid, "I'm running for President to bring our 15th (Congressional) District values to the nation -- protecting all our kids and each other from the threat of gun violence, ensuring every American has health care that never bankrupts them or forces them to rely on charity, and making sure all our kids get their start in top-notch schools and can go on to college without incurring a lifetime of debt."
"I'm doing this because after six years in Congress, I still see far too many working Americans treading hard just to stay afloat and unable to ever get ahead," he added. "Nothing will change unless we have a President who is willing to go big on the issues we take, be bold with the solutions we offer, and do good in the way that we govern."
"We can bring the promise of America -- if you work hard, it adds up to more for you and your kids -- to all Americans if we go big, be bold, and do good," Swalwell said.
The sitting legislator also tried to quell concerns about potential negative impacts his presidential campaign would have on his congressional work.
"My congressional offices won't lose a beat in providing constituents the service and help they need, or with pushing the legislation we believe in," said Swalwell, whose district includes the Tri-Valley communities of Pleasanton, Dublin, Livermore and San Ramon, along with Fremont, Hayward, Castro Valley, Union City and some unincorporated areas.
And his Tri-Valley constituents will be able to hear from their local presidential candidate directly when he holds a "kickoff rally" at his alma mater Dublin High School this weekend amid a 10-day blitz of campaign appearances nationwide.
The event is scheduled to begin at 2 p.m. Sunday at the high school on Village Parkway.
Swalwell has been seen as a rising star within the Democratic Party since he burst onto the national scene as a 31-year-old Alameda County prosecutor and Dublin City Council member who successfully unseated longtime congressman and fellow Democrat Pete Stark in November 2012.
Swalwell then won re-election comfortably against little-known Republicans in 2014, 2016 and 2018.
As the Democrats have reclaimed control of the House for the first time during his tenure, Swalwell currently holds leadership positions like co-chair of the House Democratic Steering and Policy Committee and chair of the Intelligence Modernization and Readiness Subcommittee of the House Committee on Intelligence.
He is also a member of the House Judiciary Committee and chair emeritus of the Future Forum, the House Democrats' millennial engagement group he founded.
Swalwell's national profile has continued to grow in recent years, especially in light of interviews for national television and print news pieces, appearances at town halls across the country, and regular posts and stakeholder engagement on social media.
Swalwell supporters see the Bay Area legislator as a voice of reason on key issues important to everyday families and younger voters, including gun legislation, health care and education costs, national security and presidential integrity.
Critics often counter that Swalwell is too inexperienced a politician, lacks tangible legislative accomplishments for his district or the country during his six-plus years in Congress or is an overly partisan young politician too focused on liberal narratives about Trump.
In the hours and days after the presidential bid announcement, national pundits have characterized the Dublin native as a long-shot among the Democrats to declare to date -- the official candidate count seems between 16 and 18, depending on the source.
Higher-profile candidates so far include U.S. Sens. Kamala Harris (Calif.), Bernie Sanders (Vt.), Elizabeth Warren (Mass.) and Cory Booker (N.J.), former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper and former U.S. Rep. Beto O'Rourke (Texas).
Time will tell how Swalwell's candidacy resonates nationwide, but he's already working to spread his campaign message, with appearances in Florida and South Carolina in the days after his announcement and upcoming stops scheduled in South Carolina (Friday) Dublin (Sunday), Las Vegas (Monday) and New Hampshire (next Thursday).
Born and raised partly in Iowa, with his family later settling in Dublin, Swalwell earned bachelor's and law degrees from the University of Maryland. He is the eldest of four sons of a retired police officer and a senior administrative assistant and likes to point out that his parents and many family members are Republicans.
He and wife Brittany have a toddler son, Nelson, and a baby daughter, Cricket.