After much speculation, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand has finally announced that she is entering the 2020 presidential race. The Democratic senator from New York made the announcement during a Tuesday appearance on the Late Show With Stephen Colbert, saying she would forming an exploratory committee for the presidency that night.
Gillibrand’s full interview won’t be airing until later Tuesday night, but a clip of her announcement was shared online by the the Late Show earlier that evening. In the clip, Colbert acknowledges the speculation about why Gillibrand was on his show that night — she had just recently been there in November, after all — before asking Gillibrand if she has anything she’d like to announce. “Yes,” she replies, before saying, “I am filing an exploratory committee for president of the United States tonight.”
When asked why she wanted to run for president, Gillibrand responded:
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. 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. 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. But you are never going to accomplish any of these things if you don’t take on the systems of power that make all of that impossible, which is taking on institutional racism, it’s taking on the corruption and greed in Washington, it’s taking on the special interests that write legislation in the dead of night.
She continued, “I know that I have compassion, the courage, and the fearless determination to get that done.” The senator further confirmed the announcement on Twitter:
With this, Gillibrand becomes merely the latest Democratic politico to throw her hat into the ever-growing 2020 race. In recent weeks, Massachusetts senator Elizabeth Warren, former secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julián Castro and U.S. representative Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii announced that they will be running. A number of other high-profile candidates — including former vice-president Joe Biden, California senator Kamala Harris, and New Jersey senator Cory Booker — are also expected to enter the race.
Gillibrand’s announcement is a departure from her stance in October. At the time, she said that she would “serve my six-year term” if she won her midterm the following month. (She won.) However, ahead of the 2008 presidential cycle, another U.S. senator had pledged to serve his full Senate term as well: Barack Obama. So speculation that she would run persisted.