To say that New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand’s polling performance in the Democratic primary race has been disappointing would be putting it mildly. (The latest Emerson poll has her literally at zero.) That lack of public support seems to have been reflected in her fundraising efforts. While some of her opponents have been posting eye-popping numbers, Gillibrand barely raised three million for the entire first quarter and she was one of the earlier entrants to form an exploratory committee and start tapping donors. So what does the team blame this on? It must have been her “bravery” in calling for Al Franken to resign.
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand’s (D-N.Y.) presidential campaign suggested Sunday that the campaign’s low first-quarter fundraising totals could be partly attributed to backlash over Gillibrand’s decision in 2017 to call for the resignation of Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.).
In a memo obtained by The New York Times, the campaign reportedly said there’s “no question” that donors are retaliating in response to Gillibrand calling on Franken, who had been accused of sexual harassment, to step aside.
“There’s no question that the first quarter was adversely impacted by certain establishment donors — and many online — who continue to punish Kirsten for standing up for her values and for women,” the memo reads.
So this is the line the Gillibrand team is taking? The voters are “punishing” her for “standing up for women” when she called out Al Franken? Pardon my throwing a bit of cold water into the spin cycle here, but we’re now well into 2019. We’re in the Trump era. How many Democratic voters do you think are still hung up on Al “grab her boobs while she’s sleeping” Franken at this point? I can’t speak for the Democrats, but somehow that doesn’t seem like one of the bigger drivers.
Gillibrand’s major problem is that the internet has a long memory. Well before she had a chance to define herself in this race, the media was dredging up stories about her time in the House representing a mildly conservative upstate New York district. She had a prime rating with the NRA, wanted tougher treatment of illegal aliens, backed restrictions on abortions and all the other things you need to do if you want to be elected in a purple/red district. Her values were situational and many people who had never heard of her before she ran for president got their first impression of Kirsten Gillibrand from those stories.
She was quickly discounted by many primary voters on that basis when they had so many more exciting (socialist) options like Bernie Sanders or “safe” potential options like Joe Biden. And you don’t send your money to the dark horse candidate under those circumstances. Blaming Al Franken at this stage seems like very weak tea.