In the weeks and months since Donald Trump’s surprising victory, Democrats immediately set their sights on the 2020 presidential election. And one name has been on nearly every list of potential nominees: New York senator Kirsten Gillibrand.
Gillibrand was relatively unknown when she took Hillary Clinton’s seat in 2009, but she captured 72 percent of the vote in 2012 and has risen to national prominence in the Trump era.
On Monday, May 1, Gillibrand told reporters in Jefferson County, New York, that she’s “dedicated to serving our state as our senator, and I’m running for reelection so I can continue to be their senator.” Of course, it makes sense that the 2018 election is her primary focus right now — but Gillibrand’s supporters have remained hopeful that she’ll consider a presidential bid.
However, the senator’s May 1 statements are the most straightforward denial yet. “I’m focused entirely on running for Senate, so yes, I’m ruling it out,” Gillibrand clarified when pressed by reporters.
The junior senator has emerged as one of Trump’s most outspoken opponents — Gillibrand has opposed more cabinet nominees than any other senator. She voted to confirm just three out of 25 nominees, and has been described as an “unlikely holy warrior” for the resistance.
Gillibrand has also captured the enthusiasm of progressive millennial women, a demographic that Clinton struggled with in 2016. Long before she became an unexpected hero in the United States Senate, Gillibrand fought for long-neglected issues such as legislation to protect sexual assault survivors on college campuses and in the military. And much like her predecessor, Gillibrand is a champion for paid family leave.