East Bay Congressman Eric Swalwell announces he is running for President

East Bay Congressman Eric Swalwell is rolling up his sleeves and hitting the campaign trail Tuesday in Florida after rolling out his presidential campaign on the "Late Show with Stephen Colbert" Monday night.

"I'm ready to solve these problems. I'm running for President of the United States," said the 38-year-old Democrat and father of two who has represented California's District 15 that includes parts of Alameda and Contra Costa Counties.

"I've already done a lot, but I can do more. I've been in Congress for six years," said Swalwell.

Swalwell is holding his first campaign event in Florida with a town hall on gun violence scheduled for 6pm EST Tuesday at the large BB&T Center just 13 miles from the mass school shooting in Parkland, Florida. 

At his campaign office in Dublin, the congressional signs have been taken to down to prepare for the presidential campaign signs.

Online, his campaign website went live with a video showing the Iowa native walking through snow.

"Greetings from Sac City Iowa. This is where I was born. My dad was a police officer. My mom made dollhouses in the garage." 

In the video he introduced himself and his background to the nation. At one point his mother comments about Swalwell and her other children.

"Somehow we raised them all the same and one of them turned out to be the Democrat," she says.

Swalwell has been in the national spotlight on news shows, speaking about homeland security, creating a bipartisan group of young congress members, and fighting for gun control and an assault weapons ban.

"I think it distinguishes him, there's no question, because he is talking about a topic that a lot of people said they wouldn't even touch," said Henry Brady, Dean of UC  Berkeley Goldman School of Public Policy.

Professor Brady says Congressman Swalwell appears to be focusing his message on young voters, holding a town hall Tuesday near the mass school shooting site in Parkland, Florida. 



Brady says, though, Swalwell's focus must go beyond gun violence if he hopes to win over voters in swing states. 

"I think early on it's going to be somebody who can capture people's imagination with some vision and I think that's going to take something that goes beyond gun violence," said Brady, "He has to figure out how he's going to deal with those voters who are in some of those swing states, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin who are maybe upset with Donald Trump. And gun violence may be something that works with them a little bit, but I don't think that's the main central issue on which they're going to be voting."

Brady says with a wide open field of 18 candidates, name recognition, money, and a core group of voters is critical.

"The good news is it's giving Democrats lots of choices and lots of things to talk about. The bad news is it's sort of hard to focus," said Brady.

Constituents in Swalwell's home district had a range of reactions. 

"I don't think it'd be a good idea but see how many votes he gets," said Kelly Katrones, a Dublin resident who says she is skeptical of Swalwell's chances. 

"It's going to be tough for him to get through the pool of Democratic nominations," said Michael Washington of Dublin, saying he would support the former Vice-President Joe Biden if he decides to run, "I'm probably going to be a Biden person."

"I actually went to high school with Swalwell. I don't know too much about him but I remember he was always amicable and seemed like a nice guy so I'd vote for him," said Justin Bull of Dublin.

Swalwell launched his political career against difficult odds. He first ran for Congress and won against an established incumbent Democrat Pete Stark, who'd been in Congress nearly 10 years.  

Swalwell is now the second former Alameda County prosecutor running for president, joining prosecutor Kamala Harris, who announced her candidacy at a rally in Oakland on Jan. 17.

He told KTVU on Mornings on 2 that he decided to run almost as soon as Donald Trump was elected and saw that he was an "utter failure." 

He said he doesn't care that the field is crowded with Democratic candidates.