The overcrowded Democratic field is finally starting to shrink. Already this week, Michael Bloomberg, Eric Holder, and Jeff Merkley have announced they won’t run for president. Of those, only Bloomberg was a real surprise. Then came the big one: On Thursday, Sherrod Brown announced he wouldn’t run either.

WASHINGTON, DC – FEBRUARY 12: Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) answers questions during a breakfast roundtable February 12, 2019 in Washington, DC. Brown, a potential Democratic presidential candidate, met with reporters to discuss a range of topics at the Christian Science Monitor press breakfast. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Brown’s choice followed a decisive reelection campaign in November, and then a widely publicized “Dignity of Work” barnstorming tour of the early primary and caucus states. The senator from Ohio acknowledged he was thinking hard about running. But he told America’s best-named newspaper, the Youngstown Vindicator, that he decided the Senate was the best place for his message.

“Being president isn’t something I have dreamed of my whole life or even for years,” Brown said. “My goal for our tour is to make the dignity of work the centerpiece of the Democrats’ 2020 campaign because I believe that’s the way to beat Donald Trump.”

He added that he hadn’t been especially cowed by the process or the fundraising or any other opponent. Among the many candidates, he did have a distinctive niche: He is noisily progressive, but also a man of the people, as comfortable in a union hall as he is at Yale, his alma mater. Think Bernie Sanders, but without the grumpiness and with a midwestern power base. He is unusually blunt, happy to call Donald Trump a racist without a moment’s hesitation, but unwilling to write off white blue-collar workers who voted for the president—because many of them voted for him, too.