New York's Kirsten Gillibrand expected to announce next steps toward 2020 presidential run
Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York says Republicans are "bullying" a woman who has accused Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault. (Sept. 20) AP
ALBANY – Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand is widely expected to announce her next steps toward a presidential run when she appears on CBS' The Late Show with Stephen Colbert Tuesday night.
Gillibrand, a New York Democrat, has hired staff members and secured office space in anticipation of joining the 2020 race, where she would become part of a crowded Democratic field looking to knock off President Donald Trump.
Her Colbert appearance is scheduled to tape at 5:30 p.m. and air at 11:30 p.m.
Gillibrand's staff declined to discuss what she would address with Colbert on Tuesday night, but it wouldn't be the first time she has discussed her 2020 prospects with the late-night host.
She first publicly acknowledged she was exploring a presidential run two days after she was reelected to the Senate last year, when she told Colbert she was giving it a "long, hard thought" despite previously vowing to serve a full six-year Senate term.
"I believe right now that every one of us should figure out how we can do whatever we can with our time, with our talents to restore that moral decency, that moral compass and that truth of who we are as Americans, so I will promise you I will give it a long, hard thought of consideration," she said Nov. 8.
New York's junior senator
An Albany native who now lives in nearby Brunswick, Gillibrand was first appointed to the Senate in 2009 after former Sen. Hillary Clinton was tapped to become President Barack Obama's secretary of state.
Popular in her home state, she cruised to reelection in 2010, 2012 and last year, when she defeated Republican Chele Chiavacci Farley by a 34-point margin in the heavily blue state.
A gifted campaign fundraiser with more than $10 million on hand, Gillibrand has seen her national profile increase in recent years as she urged women to run for office and spoke out against sexual harassment and assault.
She's called on Trump to resign and alienated some within her party when she became the first Senate Democrat to call for Sen. Al Franken to resign in 2017 after he was accused of misconduct.
In recent years, Gillibrand has tried to appeal to liberal-minded voters by vowing not to accept campaign cash from corporate PACs. She's also made major headlines in November 2017, when she said President Bill Clinton should have resigned over his affair with Monica Lewinsky.
She has gotten office space in the Rensselaer County city of Troy, not far from her Brunswick home.
Crowded Democratic field
Gillibrand is expected to enter a Democratic primary field that already includes Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Hawaii Rep. Tusli Gabbard and former Housing Secretary Julian Castro, among others.
Other high-profile Democrats are expected to announce their intentions in the coming weeks and months, including Vice President Joe Biden, who polls have shown as the early frontrunner for the Democratic nomination.
In a Democratic primary, Gillibrand will likely face renewed questions about many of her previous conservative-leaning positions, which once earned her an "A" rating from the National Rifle Association as a member of the House of Republicans from 2007 through early 2009.
She represented New York's 20th congressional district, then a heavily Republican district that encompassed the conservative areas surrounding the Albany area.
Since then, Gillibrand has tacked left, supporting strict gun control measures that led the NRA to downgrade her to an "F" rating in 2010.
Gillibrand has said she is "embarrassed" by her prior positions.
"After I got appointed, I went down to Brooklyn to meet with families who had suffered from gun violence in their communities," she said in February on CBS' 60 Minutes.
"And you immediately experience the feeling that I couldn't have been more wrong…I only had the lens of upstate New York."
Cuomo backs Biden
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a fellow Democrat who once employed Gillibrand in the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, has offered tepid support for the senator's presidential aspirations.
Earlier this month, Cuomo said he believes Biden has the "best case" for the Democratic nomination because he has "the secret ingredient you need to win, which is credibility."
Cuomo, too, has been mentioned as a possible presidential candidate, but he has vowed he will not run.
On Monday, Cuomo was asked about Gillibrand locating her potential 2020 headquarters in Troy.
"I'm glad it's in Troy," Cuomo said on WAMC-FM (90.9) in Albany.
"This presidential election is going to be a reflection of the times, and there's going to be a lot of people who want their voice heard and that's what makes democracy, democracy."
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