Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) is formally launching her 2020 presidential campaign on Sunday, following a two-month exploratory phase.
Though the New York Democrat hasn’t yet registered strongly in national and early primary state polls, she has campaigned in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, California and Texas. As part of her launch week, Gillibrand will head to Michigan, a state that Hillary Clinton narrowly lost in the 2016 presidential campaign and one which other 2020 candidates have yet to visit.
There she’ll take part in an MSNBC town hall and an event with newly elected Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer, who Gillibrand backed in the primary. Later in the week, Gillibrand will be the first presidential candidate to appear on “Desus & Mero,” the new late-night Showtime show whose first political guest was fellow New Yorker Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY).
Gillibrand plans to deliver her first speech as an official candidate at a rally outside Trump International Hotel in New York City next Sunday.
In her new launch video, the New York Democrat promises to fight for universal health care, paid family leave, ending gun violence and the Green New Deal, using the nation’s anthem as a thematic backdrop for the bravery political action necessitates.
“We need to remember what if feels like to be brave,” she says in the video. “We launched ourselves into space and landed on the moon. If we can do that, we can definitely achieve universal health care. We can provide paid family leave for all, end gun violence, pass a Green New Deal, get money out of politics and take back our democracy. None of this is impossible.”
Gillibrand’s campaign has not been without its bumps so far. Last week, Politico published an article detailing an aide’s resignation over handling of sexual harassment claims in her office, charging that the senator had not adhered to her public outspokenness on sexual harassment and assault. As a result of the report, Gillibrand’s office opened a new investigation into the claims and the aide was subsequently dismissed.
As she seeks the nomination in a field that has ballooned to over a dozen, with many of her Senate colleagues on the same ideological page, Gillibrand’s launch including the symbolism of a rally at a property owned by the President, can be seen as an attempt to break through the noise of recent splashy presidential announcements like that of Texas Democrat Beto O’Rourke.
“We need a leader who makes big, bold, brave choices,” she concludes in the video. “Someone who isn’t afraid of progress. That’s why I’m running for president. And it’s why I’m asking you for your support. Our anthem asks a question, forcing every generation to make a choice. Will brave win? Let’s answer for ours.”