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Why Gillibrand crashed and burned







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                 At one point, Kirsten Gillibrand looked at paper like a legitimate, if not formidable, presidential candidate – but her campaign never took flight. | Cliff Hawkins / Getty Images </p>
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<p> On Tuesday night, Kirsten Gillibrand gathered her family and her campaign manager, Jess Fassler, at her home in Troy, NY for a reality check. </p>
<p> The New York senator had barely registered in polls all year despite blowing through a $ 10 million campaign was chest That meant she was about to get out of the future Democratic National Committee debates. "If she did not hit at least two percent in either of the two polls coming out Wednesday, Gillibrand could not carry on in the </p><div><script async src=

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In August, Gillibrand made an all-out push to stay on the debate stage, dumping $ 1.5 million on TV and digital ads, blitzing through early states and making the rounds on cable news.But the bi g-spending plan yielded a single 2-percent poll showing. Her once-mighty campaign account dwindles to about $ 800,000, according to an a familiar with the total.

The polls on Wednesday, the deadline to qualify for the next debate, did not help. So Gillibrand filmed a dropout video that morning and delivered the news to her at mid-afternoon.

"It's important to know when it's not your time," Gillibrand said in the hastily-shot video.

At one point, Gillibrand looked at paper like a legitimate, if not formidable, presidential candidate – one with flaws, but also the pluses of a perfect electoral record and a distinctly feminist message that at one time looked like a compelling counter to Donald Trump's presidency. But Gillibrand, dogged by relentless criticism for pushing for ex-Sen. Al Franken's resignation, never took flight.

"Gillibrand was drowned out by the top animal, in the same way the rest of the title who." Patti Solis Doyle, a Democratic strategist who managed Hillary Clinton's 2008 presidential run.

A person familiar with the Gillibrand campaign, who was granted anonymity to speak candidly, compared to the 2020 Democratic primary to the equally crowded 2016 Republican primary. "The wheel kept turning. Carly Fiorina and Ben Carson have moments in the sun.

"But this race, for whatever reason, the wheel has not turned, "the person continued.

The one exception is Pete Buttigieg, who burst onto the national scene with a string of viral moments earlier this year and led the pack in second-quarter fundraising. But so far, he's the only outsider to get that chance, as high-profile governors, senators, mayors and members of Congress are nearing zero in national polling throughout 2019. In recent weeks, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper and Reps. Seth Moulton (D-Mass.) And Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.), Dropped out.

Gillibrand, who championed women and families, leaned into a spate of restrictive anti-abortion laws in Republican states, making it a rallying cry for her run. But it still did not generate attention: Days ahead of the implementation of a new anti-abortion law in Missouri in late August, Gillibrand held a town hall to bring attention to it, but no national news organization showed up.

She could never get enough oxygen. None of the candidates, just a few, really can, "said Jeff Link, an Iowa-based Democratic consultant who's unaffiliated in the primary. "She just never got a look – a real look – from anybody outside. But the DNC qualifications can actually do that. "

Gillibrand's challenges were not limited to standing out in a crowded field. From the outset, she was asked about her political transformation, from a conservative house member from upstate New York to a staunchly liberal senator. Senator Al Franken to resign. Gillibrand defends the move, noting that eight women accused Francs of sexual misconduct, but acknowledged, "If a few Democratic donors are angry because I stood by eight women, that's on them."

Hours after Gillibrand's announcement Wednesday night, both she and Franks trended on Twitter together, seemingly inextricably linked.

"Franken was definitely a problem in terms of fundraising," the person familiar with the Gillibrand campaign said. "He just kept coming up, over and over again." [19659004JenPalmieriHillaryClinton'sformercommunicationsdirectorsaidtherewas"noquestion"thatthefranchada"hugeoutsizedimpactonher"

"The sub-current of her entire candidacy was the Franks resignation, and people." "It's a crowded field, and it's hard for all the candidates, but that really hampered her."

Gillibrand, along with several other candidates, has So cited the DNC's debate criteria as an insurmountable hurdle for their campaigns. The polling and donation thresholds "cause a seismic shift" in the race, and "that's what did in Gillibrand, and frankly," said Jess Morales Rocketto, a Democratic strategist.

It wasn

Gillibrand, one of the louder Trump critics, cited the president's ability to command media attention Manhattan, hoping to goad the president into a tweet The gambit failed spectacularly, engulfed by a media-cycle tsunami when Attorney General William Barr released his much-maligned summary of the Mueller's report the same afternoon.

Her first major policy roll -out, on clean elections, ran up against news of Mueller's letter disagreeing with Barr's assessment of his report Gillibrand of opportunism.

She's landed a few memorable one-liners, promising to "clorox" the Oval Office during a debate and a "not very polite" admonition from Fox News host Chris Wallace. Iowa gay bar and arm-wrestling college students.

But most of the time came at Iowa, and it was not flattering. As Gillibrand was giving a speech, a woman tried to maneuver near her, but not to ask or ask a question. "Sorry, I'm just trying to get some ranch," she said.

Gillibrand did, eventually, get a trump tweet, which came back from the race, posting that "a sad day for Democrats. "

" Trump tweeted taking a swipe at Gillibrand. "

" I'm glad they never found out!

A Gillibrand aide confirmed that the senator plans to endorse a candidate in the 2020 primary. On Wednesday night, she fielded calls from nearly a half-dozen candidates congratulating her on a well-run race. But she's in no hurry to weigh in yet.

Instead, Gillibrand plans to refocus on the ballot, restarting "Off The Sidelines," her now-dormant political group committed to supporting female candidates. In October, Gillibrand wants headline at Annie's List event in Texas.

Gillibrand leaned into her promise to be a champion for women and families on the campaign trail, citing 'The Late Show' with Stephen Colbert at CBS 'But the female

"I do not think the fact that they are talking about equal pay, sexual assaults in the military, or reproductive rights turned off any Democratic voters. I just think no can only be focused on one gender, "Solis Doyle said.

So on Wednesday night, alongside her staff, Gillibrand.


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