Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand has raised $3 million since declaring her candidacy for president, according to her campaign, placing the New York Democrat toward the bottom of the party’s fundraising standings after the first quarter of the year.
But thanks to a significant transfer of leftover funds from her Senate reelection campaign in 2018, Gillibrand still has a big quantity in her campaign account – over $10 million, more than some of her opponents. The spokeswoman for Gillibrand did not provide the number of donors who gave to her campaign, unlike some other campaigns in the Democratic primary that have thus far prioritized the needs of the grassroots.
Gillibrand’s campaign claimed in a memo distributed to supporters that part of the reason for her lower fundraising total is because of “establishment donors” who are punishing Gillibrand for calling for the resignation of former Minnesota Sen. Al Franken following several sexual harassment allegations in 2017.
The letter states, “There’s no doubt that certain establishment donors—and many online—who continue to penalise Kirsten for standing up for her ideals and women—adversely impacted the first quarter.” “Kirsten is determined to fight for a Democratic Party that loves women and does not sacrifice them for political convenience or power,” reads a statement from the party.
Despite entering the 2020 race earlier than all of her Senate colleagues except for Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Gillibrand, who has struggled to stand out in polls, lagged behind them all in fundraising. Sen. Kamala Harris came in second with $12 million, and Sen. Bernie Sanders took the lead with almost $18 million raised as of March 31. Senators Amy Klobuchar and Cory Booker each raised around $5 million, while Warren raised over $6 million.
Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, who officially announced his candidacy this weekend, raised more than $7 million within the same time frame.
Throughout her campaign, Gillibrand has frequently been questioned about how she handled Franken’s departure, from local Iowa meet-and-greets to her recent MSNBC town hall where she declared, “If there are a few prominent Democratic contributors who are furious,” then “that’s on them.”
Additionally, she has used it as a hook to attract donors online: Gillibrand implored fans to donate “to get me to the debates” in a March Facebook ad where she claimed that “Democratic megadonors are blacklisting” her “because I refused to stay silent.”
With her gender at the forefront of her campaign, Gillibrand has gained support from other women. According to Gillibrand’s spokeswoman, nearly two-thirds of her first quarter donations were female, and the majority of them had never donated to Gillibrand before.
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