The Slatest

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand Drops Out of the 2020 Presidential Race

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand.
Gillibrand on Aug. 19 in D.C. Alex Wong/Getty Images

New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand has announced that she has ended her presidential campaign. Gillibrand made the decision after failing to qualify for the next Democratic debate, according to the New York Times. She had acquired the minimum number of campaign donors in time but could not cross the 2 percent threshold in enough polls to make it in.

In her video announcing the decision, Gillibrand said she felt her campaign had successfully raised the visibility of issues related to women and families, and she noted that she was stepping aside “because it’s important to know when it’s not your time, and to know how to best serve your community and country.” She added: “I can best serve by helping to unite us to beat Donald Trump in 2020.”

Gillibrand also told the Times that she planned on endorsing another candidate but that she hadn’t yet decided who that was. She hinted that a female nominee would be “inspiring and exciting.”

As a candidate, Gillibrand focused on women’s rights, which fit with her record of publicly campaigning for reforms to fight sexual misconduct in Congress and the military. (Gillibrand was also the first of ex-Sen. Al Franken’s Democratic colleagues to call for his resignation—a decision for which some in her party, especially donors, turned against her.) She also challenged former Vice President Joe Biden on his record on women’s rights, and particularly on abortion rights.

Upon Gillibrand’s announcement, her erstwhile primary opponent Sen. Kamala Harris tweeted her support.

The president, on the other hand, responded to the news with a joke.

Gillibrand was among the more progressive senators in recent years, and she matched many of her rivals in the campaign. Gillibrand has sought to separate herself from her history of more conservative stances before being appointed to the Senate. As a congresswoman representing a moderate district in upstate New York, Gillibrand took more conservative stances on gun control and immigration.

As a presidential candidate, Gillibrand never fared well in Democratic primary polls, averaging less than 1 percent throughout.

According to the Times, Gillibrand said she will return to her Senate seat and continue to push for issues related to women’s and family rights. She also will work to support female congressional candidates.