U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) announced Wednesday she is ending her presidential campaign after failing to qualify for the third Democratic presidential debate slated to take place in Houston next month.
Gillibrand, declaring her exit from the race in an interview with The New York Times, said she would pick another candidate in the race to endorse and indicated it would be a woman, although the New York senator did not promise.
“I think that women have a unique ability to bring people together and heal this country,” Gillibrand told the Times. “I think a woman nominee would be inspiring and exciting.”
Gillibrand put women’s issues at the center of her campaign running on the heels of the Me Too Movement. She has made electing women to Congress a priority and has been a vocal proponent of reforming how the institution deals with allegations of sexual assault, becoming the one of the first Democrats to call on Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) to resign in 2017 after charges of sexual misconduct surfaced.
The New York senator failed to gain traction in her presidential bid despite qualifying for the first two rounds of Democratic debates. She then failed to meet the both the polling threshold and the donor thresholds required by today to be behind a podium at the next primary debate.
“I think being able to have a voice on a debate stage, when other candidates have that, is really important,” Gillibrand told the Times. “And without it, I just didn’t see our path.”
Gillibrand’s exit narrows the field to 20 major candidates seeking the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination. Only 10 candidates, however, will be on the debate stage next month in front of a primetime audience hosted and moderated by ABC News. Given Gillibrand’s low polling numbers, her departure is unlikely to result in a major shift in support for another candidate.