U.S. Senator John Edwards from North Carolina has announced that he intends to seek the Democratic Party's presidential nomination.
Senator Edwards told NBC news Thursday morning that he is setting up an exploratory committee for a presidential run. Establishing such a panel is usually the first step for a first-time presidential candidacy.
Analysts say the announcement by the 49-year-old millionaire could give him the jump on several of his congressional colleagues who also are expected to join the Democratic nomination race.
Vermont Governor Howard Dean and Massachusetts Senator John Kerry have already announced they are running. Former Vice President Al Gore, who failed to gain the White House in the 2000 election, has decided not to run in 2004.
Representative Dick Gephardt of Missouri is expected to join the race as are two other possible candidates: Mr. Gore's running mate, Senator Joseph Lieberman and Senate Democratic Leader Tom Daschle.