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Sherrod Brown
FILE - In this Nov. 6, 2018, file photo, Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, speaks to supporters after winning re-election during the Democratic election night party in Columbus, Ohio. Brown plans an online town hall Sunday, Dec. 16 as he considers running for president in 2020. (AP Photo/John Minchillo, File)

Mulling a 2020 presidential campaign, Sen. Sherrod Brown sets up tour of early primary states

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By ELANA SCHOR AND JULIE CARR SMYTH, Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — Sen. Sherrod Brown is launching a tour of three states that cast pivotal early votes in the 2020 presidential primary.

The move from the Ohio Democrat is a key step before he decides whether to launch a campaign for the White House.

Brown won a third term in November on the strength of a message he calls the "Dignity of Work." He plans to use that motto for his forthcoming tour, which he announced Tuesday night on MSNBC.

It includes stops in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina, as well as a kickoff in his home state. The 66-year-old has yet to decide whether to join a 2020 primary field that is expected to include as many as a half-dozen of his fellow Democratic senators.

Brown said his goal is for the tour to elevate the dignity of work message as an issue in 2020, regardless of whether he's a presidential candidate in that race.

"If that's the case, whether I end up running or not, that's a victory, because it means we will govern better, we will be a better party and we'll win more elections," he said.

He said he'll tout his strong performance in last fall's Senate race in Ohio to urge fellow Democrats to embrace the approach in their campaigns.

"Some national Democrats, they've created this sort of binary choice that you speak to the progressive base or you talk to working-class voters of all races," he said. "I don't think it's an either/or, I think you do both. That's how you win in the heartland. That's how we won in Ohio. That's what I hope the narrative is for all the presidential candidates on the Democratic side."

Brown said he and wife, Connie Schultz, are likely to make a decision on a presidential run in March.

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Carr Smyth reported from Columbus, Ohio.

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