Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand dropped out of the presidential race Wednesday, abruptly ending a campaign that once looked poised to ride strong #MeToo credentials to formidability but instead collapsed amid surprisingly low polling and major fundraising struggles.
The decision came as Gillibrand failed to qualify for a debate coming next month in Houston by not hitting 2% in at least four approved public opinion polls while securing 130,000 unique donors - despite spending millions on online and TV ads to woo people contributing as little as $1. That proved especially embarrassing since candidates who began the race with far lower national profiles, including businessman Andrew Yang, made it.
On the eve of Wednesday's qualifying deadline, Gillibrand met with her family and decided that if a pair of polls set to be released the following morning didn't help her meet the polling threshold, she'd drop out.
Both ultimately showed her at 0%.
To get to the U.S. House, Gillibrand had topped an incumbent Republican in a conservative part of upstate New York in 2007, and she was appointed to the Senate two years later, filling the seat vacated by Hillary Clinton. She later retained the seat during a 2010 special election, as well as in 2012 and 2018.
Vocal in the Senate on curbing sexual harassment and military sexual assault, as well as promoting equal pay for women and family leave, Gillibrand made those and her staunch defense of abortion rights the core of her presidential bid.
She stood out in the crowded Democratic presidential field by becoming the first to declare she'd only appoint judges to the Supreme Court who consider the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion nationwide settled law, though most of her competitors quickly followed suit.
Gillibrand also used her run to highlight systemic racism and white privilege, speaking on the subject frequently on issues such as mass incarceration, urban gun violence and maternal mortality rates for black women.
She initially hoped to stay in the race in a bid to qualify for October's debates, but her financial situation made that impossible. Gillibrand finishes with just $800,000 left in her campaign bank account. That means she spent well over $7 million, just since June 30.
General elections , Legislature , Government and politics , Presidential elections , National elections , Elections , Political debates , Campaigns , Campaign contributions , Political fundraising , Campaign contributions , Campaign finance , United States presidential election , Abortion controversy , Reproductive rights , Human rights and civil liberties , Social issues , Social affairs , 2020 United States presidential election , United States general election , 2020 United States presidential election
Andrew Yang , Hillary Clinton , Al Franken , Kirsten Gillibrand
MeToo, United States Senate, United States Congress, United States government
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