Senator Sherrod Brown explores presidential bid, begins tour in Ohio

BRUNSWICK, Ohio (AP) Sen. Sherrod Brown has kicked off his tour of states that cast pivotal early votes in the 2020 presidential primary by accusing Republican President Donald Trump of "phony populism" that disrespects minorities, workers and families while benefiting billionaires.

The Ohio Democrat launched his "dignity of work" tour Wednesday at a warehouse south of Cleveland. He and his wife, journalist Connie Schultz, head next to Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina.

The 66-year-old senator and former representative told the crowd of several hundred that Democrats can't let "extremists" at statehouses and in Washington claim populist credentials if they don't support policies that benefit middle-class Americans.

Brown says his re-election victory in November shows progressive values can play even in a state Trump won by double digits.