New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand’s entry into the 2020 Democratic POTUS primary seemed to land with a bit of a thud this month. Not only was her initial announcement met with something of a collective yawn in the local press, but many reporters immediately began bringing up questions about her many policy “corrections” (read: total flip-flops) after leaving the House of Representatives and heading to the Senate. But hey… anyone can get off to a rocky start and still recover, right?
Perhaps not. A recent Quinnipiac poll of New York registered voters asked which Empire State politicians they would likely support to be president. Given her high profile as a national anti-Trump figure and all the air time she’s given on cable news, she should be a logical choice if you’re restricting the options to just candidates from her home state. Sadly for Gillibrand, that wasn’t even close to being the case. Barely one in ten voters picked her as their first choice. (Free Beacon)
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D., N.Y.) finished behind two undeclared New York presidential candidates and just ahead of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D., N.Y.) in a new poll asking voters which Empire State politician would make the best president.
A Quinnipiac poll of New York registered voters showed Gillibrand, who announced her run for the Democratic nomination last week, coming in third behind former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg (28 percent) and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (17 percent). Gillibrand received 11 percent of the vote. Bloomberg has expressed interest in a bid, while Cuomo has said he will not run.
Gillibrand finished 4 points ahead of Ocasio-Cortez (7 percent), the rising democratic socialist star.
So here’s the final finishing order. Bloomberg, Andrew Cuomo, Gillibrand, and Ocasio-Cortez.
In other words, in the “Year of the Women,” Kirsten Gillibrand lost to a white guy who’s already flatly stated that he’s not running (Cuomo), another white guy who has been elected as a Republican and is barely a Democrat on the best of days (Bloomberg), and barely squeaked in ahead of somebody who is constitutionally barred from even running (AOC). That’s got to be a real boost to the old ego, eh?
Perhaps part of the problem for Gillibrand (aside from the endless list of flip-flops executed to match the prevailing political winds) is that she’s quickly getting drowned out of the national conversation. It seems like another Democrat is declaring their presidential run every other day, and some of them are attracting a lot more early attention. When Kamala Harris made her announcement she raised $1.5M in the first couple of hours. (And that was with people already digging into her less than progressive record as a prosecutor.) Gillibrand’s team isn’t sending out any press releases about how much money she’s raised, which probably tells you all you need to know.
The media is also still obsessing over Beto and his introspective selfie tour. Heck, the Mayor of South Bend, Indiana is getting more headlines than Gillibrand this week, despite the fact that most of the nation couldn’t tell you his name, much less pronounce it correctly. And being from New York, it probably doesn’t help that AOC is constantly sucking all the oxygen out of the media tent this year.
So what is it that’s making this campaign so lackluster thus far? Is Gillibrand getting tagged with the “unlikable” brand? It doesn’t seem so. To steal a phrase from the last president, she seems likable enough. But in addition to the questionable nature of her liberal bona fides, the Democratic base hasn’t forgotten her role in driving Al Franken out of the Senate. On top of all that, she’s rather generic in terms of the identity politics sweepstakes. Yes, she’s a woman, but there are a bunch of women running (or preparing to run) already. Beyond that, she’s still a straight, white woman who doesn’t even have an “exciting” (read: Muslim) religious background.
It’s far too soon to stick a fork in Gillibrand’s candidacy, but she can’t even generate much excitement in her own home state. (Elizabeth Warren has the same problem.) Her team has a lot of work ahead of them if they want to turn this thing around.