Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) ended her presidential run Wednesday, telling her supporters in a video that this wasn’t her moment.
In the two-minute video, which is mostly a montage of her time on the campaign trail, Gillibrand said she will focus her resources on helping unite Democrats to beat President Trump. “It’s important to know when it’s not your time,” she says in the video.
Her decision comes after news that she’d fallen short of meeting the requirements for the September Democratic primary debate.
In the past two weeks, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper and Massachusetts Rep. Seth Moulton left the race. Twenty Democrats now remain and only half will be on the debate stage.
The senator, 52, had branded herself as “the best candidate for women,” touting a record fighting for women’s rights, especially on issues of sexual assault, even at the expense of her own party.
Despite her early entry into the race in March, Gillibrand could never break 1 or 2 percent in national polls. As one of four female senators in the race, she needed a breakout moment that never came.
“My friend @SenGillibrand is a brave voice on some of the most critical issues facing our country today — from childcare to sexual assault. She is a champion and I know she’s not done fighting for women and families everywhere,” tweeted Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), who is running for president.
Gillibrand branded herself “the best candidate for women” and hoped her record on women’s rights issues would resonate with female voters. Gillibrand has long been an advocate for victims of sexual misconduct, even when it put her at odds with her own party.
In 2017, Gillibrand was the first Democratic senator to call for the resignation of former senator Al Franken over allegations of sexual misconduct. She shocked and angered some in the Democratic base the same year when she said in an interview with the New York Times that former president Bill Clinton should have resigned over his affair with White House intern Monica Lewinsky.
Gillibrand replaced Hillary Clinton in the Senate in 2009 when Clinton became former president Barack Obama’s secretary of state. Gillibrand had been close to the Clintons for years.
Gillibrand may have also struggled to amass donors and voter support in an increasingly liberal Democratic Party because of the conservative positions she once held on guns and immigration.