FILE PHOTO: Former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder addresses the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) dinner in Washington, U.S., September 15, 2018. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas/File Photo
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said on Monday he would not seek the Democratic presidential nomination in 2020, but will work to help the party recapture the White House and make gains in state legislatures ahead of the next round of congressional redistricting.
Holder, a close ally of former President Barack Obama who had been exploring a possible run for months, said Democrats already have “a host of good options” in the growing field of 2020 presidential contenders and should choose a nominee with integrity and the ability to inspire people.
“The party should never lose sight of our primary objective: making sure a Democratic president is sworn in on Jan. 20, 2021,” Holder said in a column in the Washington Post.
Holder, 68, whose six-year tenure as attorney general was marked by civil rights advances and frequent fights with Republicans in Congress, said he will continue his work with a nonprofit group he founded to fight for reforms in the redrawing of legislative boundaries.
Holder and other Democrats argue that Republicans have used that process, which will begin again in 2021, to their benefit by drawing the boundaries to ensure safe seats for Republican incumbents.
“For too long, Democrats have lost sight of the state and local races that shape the day-to-day lives of the people we serve,” he said. “With state legislatures set to begin drawing new voting districts in 2021, what happens in those races over the next two years will shape the next decade of our politics.”
Holder had barely registered in opinion polls of the growing Democratic presidential field.
But he had signaled his interest in the White House for months, traveling to states with early nominating contests and arguing it was time for Democrats to “get tough” on Republican President Donald Trump, a fellow native of the New York borough of Queens.
Reporting by John Whitesides; Editing by Tom Brown