Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., said this week she “definitely” plans to run for president again after bowing out of the 2020 race in August 2019 because she failed to meet the fundraising and polling threshold for the September debate.
“I definitely want to run for president again,” Gillibrand told Politico in an interview. “I learned so much on that campaign: about myself, about the country, about how to be successful as a politician. I became a much better speaker and became better at my job.”
The New York Democrat said she feels more “energized” than ever to be a senator, coming after she joined forces with Republican Joni Ernst of Iowa to push a bill to overhaul military sex crimes. And after years of pressing for it, federal paid family leave is gaining traction in her party. Ernst and Gillibrand have reportedly developed a close friendship outside of the office.
Gillibrand has evolved with her party’s leftward lurch, appointed to fill Hillary Clinton’s seat as a pro-gun member of the centrist Blue Dog Coalition and budding into a staunch progressive who launched into the limelight in the #MeToo movement. She’s known for being the first to call on Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., to resign amid multiple misconduct allegations, though many others quickly joined her, though some Democrats now feel calling for Franken’s resignation was a rush to judgment.
On the campaign trail, Gillibrand said that her stance had alienated donors and some voters in his neighboring, make-or-break Iowa.
Gillibrand made women’s issues the central focus of her first campaign, homing in on curbing sexual harassment and promoting equal pay for women and family leave, coupled with a staunch defense of abortion rights.
“I tend to take on the issues that don’t have champions and that are a bit harder to get done … but they need champions, because sexual assault survivors don’t have big lobbyists,” Gillibrand told Politico. “You’ve got to convince member, by member, by member.”