Kirsten Gillibrand drops out of Democratic presidential race after failing to make debate stage

Gillibrand built her campaign on issues that impact women and families, such as her support of reproductive rights

By Nicole Karlis

Published August 28, 2019 7:18PM (EDT)

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, (D-NY) (Getty/Brendan Smialowski)
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, (D-NY) (Getty/Brendan Smialowski)

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., announced her decision to withdraw from the still crowded Democratic primary field after she failed to qualify for the third round of presidential primary debates set to be broadcast in September.

“I know this isn't the result we wanted. We wanted to win this race,” Gillibrand said in a video posted to her Twitter account. “But it’s important to know when it’s not your time and to know how you can best serve your community and country.”

Gillibrand built her campaign centered around women and families, including her strong support of a woman's right to choose.

“Women in America are on fire,” Gillibrand said in her closing statement during the first Democratic debate. “We've marched. We've organized. We've run for office. We've won. But our rights are under attack like never before by President Trump and Republicans who want to repeal Roe v. Wade, which is why I went to the front lines in Georgia to fight for them.”

According to the New York Times, Gillibrand will return to the Senate and continue to champion the causes of her presidential campaign. She will also support female candidates for Congress through her political committee, Off the Sidelines.

“I’m really going to focus on electing women up and down the ballot,” she told the outlet.

However, the senator left open a door to holding other offices should a Democrat be elected president.

“I would absolutely consider anything that was asked of me, because my goal is to serve,” Gillibrand said. “I’m going to do everything I can to make sure our nominee defeats Trump.”

Gillibrand added the she would endorse another Democratic candidate, although she has yet to specify whom. While she did not explicitly pledge to endorse a woman, she did say that women "have a unique ability to bring people together and heal this country."

“I think a woman nominee would be inspiring and exciting," Gillibrand said. "I will support whoever the nominee is, and I will do whatever it takes to beat Trump.”

The New York senator failed to break past 1 or 2 percent in national polls. She became the fifth candidate to end her candidacy Wednesday, following former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, Washington Governor Jay Inslee, Massachusetts Rep. Seth Moulton and Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.).

Nicole Karlis

Nicole Karlis is a senior writer at Salon. Tweet her @nicolekarlis.

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