Rep. Eric Swalwell, a four-term lawmaker from the San Francisco area, is the latest Democrat to announce he’s launching a bid to secure the party’s presidential nomination and challenge President Trump in 2020. At age 38, the California Democrat is one of the youngest candidates and one of several members of Congress in the race.
Here’s everything you need to know about the latest candidate to enter the crowded and diverse Democratic primary race.
Although he was born in Iowa in 1980, Swalwell moved with his family to attend middle school and high school in California. He was recruited to play soccer for North Carolina’s Campbell University. After suffering an injury, however, he transferred to the University of Maryland. After completing his undergraduate studies, Swalwell earned his J.D. from the University of Maryland and was a congressional intern for former California Rep. Ellen Tauscher.
In 2011, while a council member in Dublin City, in California’s Alameda County, Swalwell mounted a primary challenge against fellow Democrat and 20-term incumbent Pete Stark in the state’s 15th Congressional District, located in the outer suburbs of San Francisco. Although Stark bested him in the primary election, Swalwell beat the incumbent in the general election, which he qualified for because of California’s “top two” primary system.
Since he was sworn-in in 2012, Swalwell has won reelection three times. Although he has been a rank-and-file member of the House Democratic caucus during his congressional tenure, he has raised his profile during the Trump administration as a member of the Intelligence and Judiciary Committees, frequently rebuking the president in cable news appearances.
On the Intelligence Committee, Swalwell has also strongly defended special counsel Robert Mueller’s now-concluded investigation and voiced his concerns about the Trump campaign’s contacts with people affiliated with the Russian government, including the infamous “Trump Tower” meeting between Donald Trump Jr. and other campaign officials and a Russian lawyer who claimed to have “dirt” on Hillary Clinton during the summer of 2016.
Swalwell will look to make gun safety reform an integral part of his presidential campaign. He has been strongly critical of the National Rifle Association’s (NRA) sway in Congress and has repeatedly lambasted Republicans for not supporting gun control measures. He is hosting a town hall on gun control in Florida Tuesday alongside survivors of the Stoneman Douglas High School massacre, in which 17 students and staff members were killed by a gunman.
Last week, the California Democrat shared a voicemail his office received in which an individual is heard making a death threat against him because of his stance on gun rights. “We’re going to war. And you’re going to be the first motherf***ing casualty,” the person in the voicemail posted by Swalwell on Twitter is heard saying.
In his post, Swalwell wrote, “I’m not afraid of this guy. I’m not afraid of the NRA. I’m not afraid. No fear. #EndGunViolence.”
While Swalwell has not been embroiled in any major scandal or controversy during his tenure in Congress, the California Democrat will surely face criticism from Mr. Trump and Republicans on the campaign trail, especially if he secures the party’s nomination, because of his staunch defense of the Mueller probe.
What Trump says
The president has yet to tweet about Swalwell, but his 2020 campaign has strongly criticized the congressman since the release of the Justice Department’s summary of the Mueller report. In a “memorandum,” Tim Murtaugh, the director of communications of the president’s campaign, urged television news outlets to “challenge” Swalwell and other prominent Democrats who said there was evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Moscow.
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