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Gillibrand Drops Presidential Bid After Failing To Qualify For Debates

John Pemble/IPR
New York Sen. Kirsten GIllibrand has dropped out of the race for the White House after failing to qualify for the third round of debates.

New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand has dropped out of the 2020 Democratic presidential race after failing to qualify for the third round of debates.

Gillibrand struggled to boost her polling and fundraising numbers despite her experience in the U.S. House and Senate.

Like many of the candidates in the crowded Democratic field, Gillibrand struggled to break through. She bowed out when she failed to meet the Democratic National Committee's stepped-up requirements for the next round of debates scheduled for Sept. 12 in Houston.

Each candidate had to amass contributions from 130,000 unique donors and clear 2 percent in four qualifying polls by August 28th.

Gillibrand outlined why she was dropping out of the race in a video released Wednesday, almost immediately after failing to qualify.

“I know this isn’t the result we wanted. We wanted to win this race. But it’s important to know when it’s not your time, and to know how you can best serve your community and country. I believe I can best serve by helping to unite us to beat Donald Trump in 2020,” she said.

Gillibrand says she will help unite the party behind the eventual nominee.

"Our work is not done and we have a clear mission in front of us. We have to defeat President Trump, flip the Senate and elect women up and down the ballot," she said.

Gillibrand told the New York Times she paid a political price for being the first senator to call on Al Franken to resign, following allegations by multiple women that they were targets of sexual misconduct by the then-Minnesota Senator.

Other Senate Democrats have since said they regret pushing Franken out, but Gillibrand says she wouldn’t change how she handled the situation.

Gillibrand's identity as a woman and a mother of young children was a central factor in how she presented herself on the campaign, as a champion for women's rights and abortion access.

She prided herself on her history of fighting competitive campaigns and winning elections in rural, conservative-leaning areas. She first won election to the U.S. House in a New York district that she often joked on the trail had "more cows than Democrats."

Her voting history on gun issues has changed considerably over her political career; while representing New York's 20th district she earned an A rating from the NRA. Her stances changed after she was appointed to the U.S. Senate and began to represent all of New York state.

During the lead-up to 2020 caucues, gun control issues have increasingly captured the attention of Iowa Democrats and presidential candidates.

As she leaves the race for the White House, Gillibrand says she will double down on efforts to elect women to federal, state and local offices.

Kate Payne was an Iowa City-based Reporter