Rep. Eric Swalwell Kicking Off Presidential Campaign in South Florida With Parkland Families

Congressman Eric Swalwell
Congressman Eric Swalwell
U.S. House of Representatives
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U.S. Rep. Eric Swalwell announced Monday night on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert that he's officially joining the crowded field of Democratic candidates running for president of the United States. The California congressman's announcement comes about three months after New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand also announced her decision to run on Stephen Colbert's late-night show.

Early Tuesday morning, Swalwell's campaign unveiled the candidate's first ten campaign stops — a series of town halls, rallies, and meet-and-greets in California, Florida, South Carolina, Nevada, New Hampshire, and his home state of Iowa.

Swalwell's first stop on the campaign trail will be a town hall at the BB&T Center in Sunrise, where he'll be accompanied by families of the victims of the Parkland shooting. In the past, Swalwell has been outspoken about the need to reform federal gun laws and, back in February, he made a point of inviting Marjory Stoneman Douglas shooting survivor Cameron Kasky to the president's State of the Union address. Kasky tweeted about the BB&T Center town hall on Sunday night.

Swalwell's first campaign statement is another a strong indicator that the issue of guns will be a top priority in his campaign.

"I hear from school children who are learning in fear because too many lawmakers love their guns more than they love our kids,” Swalwell said in the statement.

But not everyone in Parkland is on board with Swalwell's message. Ryan Petty, the pro-Second Amendment father of 14-year-old Alaina Petty, who perished in the Valentine's Day massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas, criticized the congressman for his stance on guns.

"When will these guy[sic] learn that running against the #2A is never a winning strategy?" he wrote on Twitter when rumblings of Swalwell's White House run first began to circulate. In response to a Sun Sentinel story questioning whether a focus on gun violence will boost Swalwell's presidential aspirations, Petty simply wrote, "I’ll save you a click. No."

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