Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., announced Wednesday that she is ending her White House bid. She is the first senator to drop out of the crowded Democratic primary.
Gillibrand, a fierce advocate for women’s equality, has been in the running for the Democratic nomination since January, but she struggled to make a dent in national polls. She also lacked both the polling and required number of donors needed to qualify for the third Democratic debate next month, as the Wednesday night deadline loomed.
“I know this isn’t the result we wanted, we wanted to win this race, but’s important to know when it’s not your time,” she said in a video posted to her Twitter account. “I believe I can best serve by helping to unite us to beat Donald Trump in 2020.”
Gillibrand leaned into gender and motherhood on the campaign trail, pitching a paid family leave policy, and talked up her roots in rural, upstate New York. She called for getting money out of politics with a publicly-funded election plan, and she made LGBTQ rights a core part of her campaign, spending time with drag queens in Des Moines, Iowa.
Still, questions of “electability” dogged her from the start, and she was frequently asked about her decision to call for former Sen. Al Franken of Minnesota to resign after he faced a string of sexual misconduct allegations. Gillibrand was the first of Franken’s Democratic colleagues in the Senate to publicly urge him to step down, which he did in 2017.
“I can’t wait to keep speaking out, marching, and fighting with you,” she said in the video.