New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand dropped out of the Presidential race yesterday after failing to qualify for the September debates. Gillibrand was a fierce advocate for reproductive rights who was also out front on a number of social issues, including MeToo. Unfortunately, her campaign never caught fire, as some Democratic voters still wrongly hold her responsible for Al Franken’s resignation (Note: Kirsten Gillibrand did not inappropriately touch anyone; Al Franken did).
Thank you for being part of this race, @SenGillibrand, and for your unwavering commitment to fighting for women—from reproductive rights to paid leave. Your voice has been strong and clear, and your determination is always on display. I'm proud to keep fighting alongside you.— Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) August 28, 2019
In any respect, Gillibrand has positioned herself well for a cabinet position in a Democratic administration, and any candidate would be lucky to have her, although her New York constituents would also be lucky to keep her.
Gillibrand joins several others who have dropped out of the race in recent days and weeks, including Jay Inslee, John Hickenlooper, and Seth Moulton. Expect several more to follow in the coming days.
In the meantime, the race itself really is shaping up to be a three-person race with Kamala Harris and Mayor Pete trying to catch the frontrunners, Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, and Joe Biden. Biden still holds a commanding lead in national polls — scoring in the 30 percent range — although Sanders and Warren combined equal that of Biden, illustrating that there are just as many progressives in the party as Biden supporters, but they have not yet coalesced around one candidate. It remains to be seen whether Warren or Sanders can pull away, and that will likely come down to how they perform in Iowa, where Warren currently has a solid lead, and New Hampshire, where Biden has a slimmer lead, according to the latest polls.
I do worry that if Warren (or Sanders) cannot gain some separation in early primary states, the race could go deep into the spring and Biden might pull it out because of the split among progressive voters. Neither of the three frontrunners, obviously, are likely to drop out and wait for the next cycle. I still remain hopeful that Kamala can make some noise and either pull herself into a position among the frontrunners or at least peel off some support from Biden. Her best path, at the moment, is gaining a foothold in South Carolina and using that momentum to slingshot her way into Super Tuesday in March, but at the moment, Biden still holds a commanding lead over Harris in South Carolina thanks to Biden’s support among Black voters in the state.
In other words, there are fewer candidates, but it’s still something of a mess. The next debate will be held on September 12th.
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