Sen. Elizabeth Warren took the first steps toward a 2020 presidential run Monday, announcing the launching of an exploratory committee. Warren, the senior Democratic senator for Massachusetts, has long been considered a potential entrant in a what is expected to be a crowded Democratic primary. Monday’s announcement is her first official step in that direction after saying in September she would be taking a “hard look” at running in 2020.

Warren, 69, made the announcement in a video and statement to supporters. You can see the video above. She said in an email to supporters she would formally announce a run in early 2019.

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

Warren becomes the highest-profile Democrat to launch an exploratory committee, which allows a potential candidate to begin raising campaign funds. The Associated Press reported she has $12.5 million left from her 2018 re-election campaign.

“No matter what our differences, most of us want the same thing,” Warren said in the video. “To be able to work hard, play by the same set of rules and take care of the people we love. That’s what I’m fighting for and that’s why today I’m launching an exploratory committee for president.”

From NBC: 3 Strengths, 3 Weaknesses For Warren In 2020

Warren, a liberal darling, made a name for herself taking hard stances against large corporations – often with a tongue-lashing. She was a key part of the creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in 2007, an agency abhorred by conservatives that been muted by the Trump administration.

“I’ve spent my career standing up to big banks and powerful corporations, and I didn’t stop when I got to the United States Senate,” Warren said. “I don’t have binders full of bankers and CEOs to call for ginormous checks to launch this committee. In fact, most of them aren’t going to like what I’m doing and will probably spend their money somewhere else. That’s OK by me.”

Warren has had a public, nasty rivalry with President Trump, who has called her “Pocahontas” on many occasions, referring to her claims of Native American ancestry. A DNA analysis confirmed Warren’s claims, but it opened her up to further attacks from both sides of the political aisle.

Warren, an Oklahoma native, was a Harvard law professor before becoming senator in 2012 with a victory over Scott Brown. She easily fended off Geoff Diehl in the 2018 midterms.

(Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

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