Gillibrand campaign links low fundraising to Al Franken backlash: memo

Sen. Kirsten GillibrandKirsten Elizabeth GillibrandTrump defense pick expected to face tense confirmation 2020 Democrats target federal ban on abortion funding Gillibrand seizes on abortion debate to jump-start campaign MORE's (D-N.Y.) presidential campaign suggested Sunday that the campaign's low first-quarter fundraising totals could be partly attributed to backlash over Gillibrand's decision in 2017 to call for the resignation of Sen. Al FrankenAlan (Al) Stuart FrankenGillibrand seizes on abortion debate to jump-start campaign Study finds misconduct is the top reason CEOs are leaving large companies Hirono electrifies left as Trump antagonist MORE (D-Minn.).

In a memo obtained by The New York Times, the campaign reportedly said there's "no question" that donors are retaliating in response to Gillibrand calling on Franken, who had been accused of sexual harassment, to step aside. 

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“There’s no question that the first quarter was adversely impacted by certain establishment donors — and many online — who continue to punish Kirsten for standing up for her values and for women,” the memo reads. 

Gillibrand's campaign announced Sunday that it raised $3 million in the first quarter of 2019, putting her behind several of her Democratic rivals in the race, including Sens. Bernie SandersBernie SandersJames Carville: Biden represents 'stability' not 'generational change' Ocasio-Cortez, progressives trash 'antisemitic' Politico illustration of Bernie Sanders 2020 Democrats target federal ban on abortion funding MORE (I-Vt.), Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisSan Francisco police chief apologizes for raid on journalist's home Gillibrand seizes on abortion debate to jump-start campaign Senate Democrats to House: Tamp down the impeachment talk MORE (D-Calif.) and Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenTrump defense pick expected to face tense confirmation 2020 Democrats target federal ban on abortion funding Gillibrand seizes on abortion debate to jump-start campaign MORE (D-Mass.).

Gillibrand was the first senator in 2017 to call for Franken to step down amid the allegations of sexual misconduct.

The New York senator last month defended that decision, saying she "stood up for women who came forward" in doing so. 

"If there are a few Democratic powerful donors who are angry because I stood up for women who came forward with allegations of sexual harassment, that's on them," Gillibrand said at the time.