Sen. Kirsten GillibrandKirsten GillibrandHochul tells Facebook to 'clean up the act' on abortion misinformation after Texas law Democratic senators request probe into Amazon's treatment of pregnant employees The FBI comes up empty-handed in its search for a Jan. 6 plot MORE (D-N.Y.) on Tuesday announced she was setting up an exploratory committee for the 2020 presidential race, becoming the latest Democrat to wade into what is expected to be a crowded primary to take on President TrumpDonald TrumpOvernight Defense & National Security — The Pentagon's deadly mistake Overnight Energy & Environment — Presented by Climate Power — Interior returns BLM HQ to Washington France pulls ambassadors to US, Australia in protest of submarine deal MORE.
Gillibrand’s announcement came during an appearance on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert,” days ahead of a scheduled weekend visit to Iowa, the crucial first-in-the-nation caucus state.
“I’m going to run for president of the United States because as a young mom, I’m going to fight for other people’s kids as hard as I would fight for my own, which is why I believe that health care should be a right and not a privilege,” Gillibrand said.
“It’s why I believe we should have better public schools for our kids, because it shouldn’t matter what block you grew up on,” she continued. “And I believe that anybody who wants to work hard enough should be able to get whatever job training they need to earn their way into the middle class.”
Gillibrand, 52, said she was forming an exploratory committee — a key step in a presidential campaign that allows her to begin raising crucial campaign cash and hiring staff before she formally enters the race.
Minutes after “The Late Show” released a video clip of the senator’s announcement, Gillibrand tweeted that she is “the woman for the job,” linking to a newly launched campaign website.
I believe this country needs a movement rooted in compassion and courage. We want an America defined by strength of character, not weakness of ego. We need to protect our basic rights and fight for better health care, education and jobs. And I believe I'm the woman for the job.— Kirsten Gillibrand (@SenGillibrand) January 15, 2019
The New York Democrat, who was first appointed to succeed Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonAttorney charged in Durham investigation pleads not guilty Attorney indicted on charge of lying to FBI as part of Durham investigation Durham seeking indictment of lawyer with ties to Democrats: reports MORE in the Senate in 2009, has seen her national profile balloon in recent years, especially with the advent of the "Me Too" movement in 2017.
She became the first Democratic senator to call on then-Sen. Al FrankenAlan (Al) Stuart FrankenAl Franken on another Senate run: 'I'm keeping my options open' Andrew Cuomo and the death of shame Could Andrew Cuomo — despite scandals — be re-elected because of Trump? MORE (D-Minn.) to resign amid allegations of sexual misconduct.
Gillibrand’s announcement came days after two other Democrats entered the 2020 nominating contest.
Rep. Tulsi GabbardTulsi GabbardProgressives breathe sigh of relief after Afghan withdrawal Hillicon Valley: US has made progress on cyber but more needed, report says | Democrat urges changes for 'problematic' crypto language in infrastructure bill | Facebook may be forced to unwind Giphy acquisition YouTube rival Rumble strikes deals with Tulsi Gabbard, Glenn Greenwald MORE (D-Hawaii) unveiled her presidential ambitions on Friday, telling CNN’s Van Jones in an interview that she has “decided to run” and would make a formal campaign announcement in the coming days.
A day later, Julián Castro, a former Housing and Urban Development secretary, announced during a press conference that he had decided to seek the Democratic presidential nomination. He formed a committee to explore a potential White House run last month.
Gillibrand enters the race with a higher national profile than either Castro or Gabbard, giving her an advantage in the earliest days of the 2020 election cycle.
But she’ll also have to compete against Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenFederal Reserve officials' stock trading sparks ethics review Manchin keeps Washington guessing on what he wants Warren, Daines introduce bill honoring 13 killed in Kabul attack MORE (D-Mass.), another giant in Democratic politics, who announced on New Year’s Eve that she had formed an exploratory committee ahead of an expected presidential run.
What’s more, several other Democrats, including former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenHouse Democrat threatens to vote against party's spending bill if HBCUs don't get more federal aid Overnight Defense & National Security — The Pentagon's deadly mistake Haitians stuck in Texas extend Biden's immigration woes MORE and Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersDemocrats urge Biden to commute sentences of 4K people on home confinement Briahna Joy Gray: Push toward major social spending amid pandemic was 'short-lived' Sanders 'disappointed' in House panel's vote on drug prices MORE (I-Vt.), are weighing White House bids and are expected to announce their decisions in the coming weeks.
Taken together, the slew of presidential announcements and expected announcements raise the prospect of a Democratic primary field that could include dozens of candidates divided along generational and ideological lines.