Gillibrand Drops Out of 2020 Presidential Race

New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand. (Jennifer King photo/Miami Herald via AP)

(CN) – New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand announced Wednesday she is dropping out of the 2020 presidential race after failing to qualify for the next Democratic debate.

Gillibrand made the announcement on Twitter saying that it was “important to know when it’s not your time and to know how you can best serve your community and country.”

With the senator’s exit, 20 candidates remain in the Democratic race to the White House.

Her campaign was barred from entering the third Democratic primary debate since she was unable to meet the necessary donor and polling requirements outlined by the Democratic National Committee.

Gillibrand campaigned largely on issues affecting women and children and frequently put her staunch criticism of President Donald Trump front and center. During one of her very first campaign events in Manhattan in March, Gillibrand slammed the president as a “coward” and likened him to being a “crook.”

During her appearance at the Democratic debates in Detroit, Michigan last month, Gillibrand’s most memorable line of the evening was another jab at the president: She told moderators she would “Clorox the Oval Office” the first moment she took over the White House.

Trump reacted to Gillibrand’s announcement on Twitter.

“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!” Trump wrote Wednesday evening.

Gillibrand, who was first appointed to the U.S. Senate in 2009, did not say who she would endorse moving ahead but vowed her support for whoever is nominated.

“I will do whatever it takes to beat Trump,” Gillibrand said in an interview with The New York Times on Wednesday.

Gillibrand’s campaign often centered on a fierce defense of women’s rights and abortion rights. She advocated for better transparency in government and often focused on the need to fill judgeships with individuals who promised to uphold Roe v. Wade before being appointed.

She also supported the #MeToo campaign and aligned herself with activists who organized the Women’s March movements. In late 2017, she led the call for then-Senator Al Franken of Minnesota to step down following several allegations of sexual impropriety.

While Franken eventually complied, many prominent Democratic donors — and politicians — saw Gillibrand’s call for Franken’s resignation a drumhead court-martial and resented her for it. She has blamed them for stunting her fundraising during her presidential bid.

Under DNC rules, candidates must have at least 130,000 unique donors and accrue at least 2% favorability in four qualifying polls. Gillibrand struggled to break out of the 0 to 1% range for months.

In a memo released shortly after Gillibrand bowed out of the race, she said she plans to “raise and invest at least $1 million to elect women this cycle” by re-launching her Off the Sidelines PAC to support women candidates.

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