2020 Presidential Profiles

Published — January 16, 2019

9 things to know about Kirsten Gillibrand

(Kirsten Gillibrand 2010 campaign)

U.S. senator from New York announces presidential bid.


Update, Aug. 21, 2019: Kirsten Gillibrand has ended her presidential bid.

U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, then a member of the U.S. House, was appointed to fill a vacant New York Senate seat in 2009 — that of then-Sen. Hillary Clinton, who became U.S. Secretary of State, and later, the Democrats’ 2016 presidential candidate.

Now, Gillibrand is again hoping to follow Clinton on the ballot, this time as the Democratic presidential nominee in 2020.

“I’m going to run for president of the United States because as a young mom, I’m going to fight for other people’s kids as hard as I would fight for my own,” Gillibrand, 52, on Jan. 15 told comedian Stephen Colbert on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.”

(Update, March 17, 2019: Gillibrand formally filed paperwork with the Federal Election Commission to run for president and announced her intentions in a video.)

Here’s more on Gillibrand’s political and financial history:

  • Gillibrand easily won re-election to her second full Senate term in November and still managed to conserve the bulk of her campaign cash, raising $17.8 million and finishing out the election season with more than $10.5 million in campaign cash on hand. She may use that money toward her presidential bid.

  • About a third of the campaign contributions Gillibrand raised during 2017 and 2018 came from donors giving less than $200.

  • A Center for Public Integrity analysis of contributions made via payment processing platform ActBlue found more than half Gillibrand’s contributions during 2017 and 2018 came from female donors.

  • Gllibrand’s Leadership PAC, called Off the Sidelines after her 2015 book of the same name, is described as Gillibrand’s “effort to get more women involved in public life.” She’s encouraged women to form political giving circles and emerge as donors. Among others, the PAC, which had about $203,000 cash on hand at the end of November, gave $10,000 in 2017 to the Senate campaign of Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass.

  • Employees of two law firms Gillibrand worked at before entering politics — Boies, Schiller & Flexner and Davis, Polk & Wardwell — contributed more to Gillibrand’s campaigns from 2013 to 2018 than employees of any other company, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

  • In February 2018, Gillibrand said she would no longer accept contributions from corporate PACs, though she said she would continue to accept money from PACs tied to labor unions.

  • In November 2018, Gillibrand published “Bold & Brave: Ten Heroes Who Won Women the Right to Vote,” a children’s book on heroes of women’s suffrage. Her most recent personal financial disclosure form, for calendar year 2017, reports $25,000 in royalties for a children’s book and less than $1,000 in royalties for her earlier book.

  • In 2015, the most recent year for which rankings are available, the Center for Responsive Politics estimated Gillibrand’s net worth (not including the value of her residence) to be $498,502. It ranked her as the 83rd wealthiest senator.

  • Gillibrand has reached out to voters via digital ads. A search of Facebook’s ad archive shows her Senate campaign has spent $856,437 on 919 ads since May 2018.
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand leaves the Ed Sullivan Theater‎ after taping an appearance on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2019, in New York. The New York Democrat announced she is running for president in 2020. (AP/Craig Ruttle)

Sources: Federal Election Commission, Center for Responsive Politics, Roll Call, personal financial disclosure records for members of Congress via the U.S. Senate, Facebook.

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