New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand dropped out of the 2020 race for president on Wednesday after failing to qualify for the next Democratic debate.
“I know this isn’t the result that we wanted,” Gillibrand said in a video she posted on Twitter. “We wanted to win this race. But it’s important to know when it’s not your time and to know how you can best serve your community and country.”
Gillibrand had focused her candidacy more than any of her Democratic rivals on efforts to draw support from women. She emerged as a key figure in the #MeToo movement when she called on fellow Democratic Sen. Al Franken to resign in December 2017 amid allegations of sexual misconduct. Franken stepped down, but later expressed regrets about not remaining in the Senate.
Today, I am ending my campaign for president.— Kirsten Gillibrand (@SenGillibrand) August 28, 2019
I am so proud of this team and all we've accomplished. But I think it’s important to know how you can best serve.
To our supporters: Thank you, from the bottom of my heart. Now, let's go beat Donald Trump and win back the Senate. pic.twitter.com/xM5NGfgFGT
Gillibrand failed to gain substantial support for her presidential run even as several other senators — Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Kamala Harris of California — quickly reached the top tier.
Harris called Gillibrand “a brave voice on some of the most critical issues facing our country today — from child care to sexual assault.”
“She is a champion and I know she’s not done fighting for women and families everywhere,” Harris said on Twitter.
Gillibrand was appointed in 2009 to fill the Senate seat vacated by Hillary Clinton after she was named secretary of State. Gillibrand won election to the seat in 2010 and was reelected in 2012 and 2018.
In the Senate, Gillibrand gained national attention for her efforts against sexual assault in the military. A former House member who’d represented small towns and rural areas of upstate New York, she also faced accusations of inconsistency when she shifted leftward on immigration and guns once she was running for statewide office.
Gillibrand participated in her party’s first two presidential debates over the summer, but was unable to establish herself as a leading contender.
For the third debate next month in Houston, the Democratic National Committee set stricter qualifications. Candidates need at least 130,000 donors and 2% support in at least four polls approved by the party, and Gillibrand fell short on both counts.