WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Representative Seth Moulton entered the 2020 Democratic presidential race on Monday as a long-shot contender in a contest that now includes almost 20 candidates.
A 40-year-old Iraq War veteran who represents a district in Massachusetts, Moulton enters the race as an underdog, with little national name recognition and a shorter track record than some rivals who have spent years in the U.S. Senate or as state governors.
Moulton has built a political career by challenging the party’s establishment. He entered Congress in 2015 after winning a Democratic primary challenge against John Tierney, who had held the seat for 18 years.
After Democrats took control of the U.S. House of Representatives in 2018, Moulton helped organize opposition to Representative Nancy Pelosi’s bid to again become Speaker of the House.
He ended his opposition to Pelosi with a statement saying: "Tough conversations make us stronger, not weaker, and we need to keep having them if we’re going to deliver on the change that we’ve promised the American people."
In a YouTube video announcing his presidential candidacy, he said: "Decades of division and corruption have broken our democracy and robbed Americans of their voice."
"While our country marches forward, Washington is anchored in the past," he said.
In the video, Moulton said he wants to tackle climate change and grow the U.S. economy by promoting green jobs as well as high tech and advanced manufacturing.
Moulton served in the Marines from 2001 to 2008. During his 2014 congressional bid, he became a vocal critic of the Iraq War in which he served, saying no more troops should be deployed to the country.
He has advocated stricter gun laws, saying military-style weapons should not be owned by civilians.
Moulton supports the legalization of marijuana and told Boston public radio station WGBH in 2016 that he had smoked pot while in college.
He graduated from Harvard University with an undergraduate degree in physics in 2001 and returned to receive a master’s degree in business and public policy in 2011.
Moulton's announcement brings the number of major Democrats running for president to 17, according to FiveThirtyEight's Nate Silver. FiveThirtyEight does not include author Marianne Williamson or Miramar mayor Wayne Messam as major candidates.