Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand ended her presidential bid Wednesday, Aug. 29, amid low polling and major fundraising struggles.
“I know this isn’t the result that we wanted,” the 52-year-old New York senator said in an online video in which she didn’t endorse any other 2020 Democratic White House hopeful. “But it’s important to know when it’s not your time.”
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.
On the eve of the qualifying deadline on Wednesday, Gillibrand met her family and decided to drop out of a pair of voting sessions if she couldn’t fulfill the polling limit the next afternoon.
Today, I am ending my campaign for president.
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
— Kirsten Gillibrand (@SenGillibrand) August 28, 2019
Following her decision, President Trump tweeted, “A sad day for the Democrats, Kirsten Gillibrand has dropped out of the Presidential Primary. I’m glad they never found out that she was the one I was really afraid of!”
A sad day for the Democrats, Kirsten Gillibrand has dropped out of the Presidential Primary. I’m glad they never found out that she was the one I was really afraid of!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 28, 2019
In 2007, Gillibrand had topped an incumbent Republican in a conservative part of Upper New York to get to the U.S. House, and two years later she was appointed to the Senate, filling the seat vacated by Hillary Clinton. She later retained the seat during a 2010 special election, as well as in 2012 and 2018.
She initially hoped to remain in the race in a bid to qualify for the October debates, but her financial situation made that impossible. Gillibrand finishes with only $800,000 left in her campaign bank account, which means she has spent well over $7 million since June 30.
A campaign assistant stated Wednesday that it had become too difficult to get media coverage to boost polling and collect money from Gillibrand. Gillibrand met staff at her headquarters in Troy, New York, in the afternoon to tell them it was over.
During a Fox News town hall in June, Gillibrand said, “We want women to have a seat at the table,” and when moderator Chris Wallace responded, “What about men?” Gillibrand shot back with one of the most memorable lines of her campaign: “They’re already there—do you not know?”
As she continued to struggle for traction, though, questions about why Gillibrand was still running intensified. Asked in July if she hoped to be another candidate’s choice for vice president, Gillibrand wouldn’t rule it out.
“I’m running for president of the United States because I believe that I am the best leader to take this country forward,” she told The Associated Press in an interview during a bus tour in Michigan. “But I will always serve in all capacities because I am here to serve others.”
Includes reporting from the Associated Press