warren
Credit: Lulu Wang

Former Penn Law School professor Elizabeth Warren announced her bid for the presidency in 2020 on Monday.

In an email sent to supporters, Warren said she was launching an exploratory committee to raise money for her campaign. The Massachusetts senator, who taught at Penn Law during the late 1980s and early 1990s, is one of the first prominent Democrats to declare their candidacy.

“America’s middle class is under attack,” Warren said in a video included in the email. “How did we get here? Billionaires and big corporations decided they wanted more of the pie. And they enlisted politicians to cut them a bigger slice.”

Warren will likely face a crowded Democratic primary field. Polls indicate that Penn Presidential Professor of Practice and former Vice President Joe Biden is an early front-runner — if he decides to run. Although 1996 College graduate and celebrity attorney Michael Avenatti also publicly considered running, he ruled out his candidacy in December.

Warren's time at Penn recently rose to national spotlight amid a controversy surrounding her claims of Native American heritage. Throughout her political career, her opponents — such as President Donald Trump — have labeled her “Pocahontas,” alleging she dubiously used her Native American heritage to claim she was a minority.

In October, Warren released her personal DNA results, showing "strong evidence" that she has Native American ancestry from more than six generations ago.

Penn Law professor Stephen Burbank, who was a member of the appointments committee and part of a subcommittee that investigated all minority prospects for jobs at Penn Law, said Warren was not considered a minority candidate at the time.

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