Kirsten Gillibrand ran for president in 2020. Here's everything we know about the former candidate and how she stacked up against the competition.

Eliza Relman
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand.

Paul Sancya/AP Images

Who is Kirsten Gillibrand? Current job: US Senator from New York. Ran for president of the United States as a Democratic candidate and dropped out of the primary on August 28, 2019. 

Age: 52

Family: Gillibrand is married to venture capitalist Jonathan Gillibrand and has two children, Theodore and Henry. 

Hometown: Albany, New York

Political party: Democratic

Previous jobs: Congresswoman representing New York's 20th congressional district from 2007-2009. Corporate lawyer from 1991-2005.  

Who is Gillibrand's direct competition for the nomination?

Based on a recurring series of national surveys we conduct, we can figure out who the other candidates competing in Kirsten Gillibrand's lane are, and who the broader opponents are within the party.

  • Without question, Sen. Kamala Harris poses the largest immediate threat to Gillibrand's candidacy. Of those respondents who would be satisfied with the senator from New York as nominee, about three quarters would also be satisfied with Harris as nominee. That's a breathtaking 24 percentage points higher than Harris' overall performance among Democrats, indicating Gillibrand could have difficulty assembling a base if Harris woos those voters.
Kirsten Gillibrand August 16

Business Insider

  • Former Vice President Joe Biden is the frontrunner in this context, and typically about 70 percent of those satisfied with Gillibrand as nominee would also be satisfied with Biden. That's a little higher than Biden's overall satisfaction.
  • Senate colleagues Elizabeth Warren and Cory Booker, like Harris, also outperform considerably among those satisfied with Gillibrand. About two thirds of those satisfied with Gillibrand are also satisfied with Warren. Though he comes in lower, that's about the same for Booker. Those numbers are more than 20 percentage points above their general satisfaction rates, which is very high.

INSIDER has been conducting a recurring poll through SurveyMonkey Audience on a national sample to find out how different candidate's constituencies overlap. We ask people whether they are familiar with a candidate, whether they would be satisfied or unsatisfied with that candidate as nominee, and sometimes we also ask whether they think that person would win or lose in a general election against President Donald Trump.

Read more about how we're polling this here.

What are Kirsten Gillibrand's policy positions?

  • On healthcare:
  • On immigration:
    • Called to eliminate the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE) in 2018. 
    • Supports the Obama administration's "Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals" (DACA) program, which protects young people who come to the US illegally as children.
    • As a congresswoman, she opposed giving amnesty to undocumented immigrants, supported boosting the number of border patrol agents and speeding deportations, and opposed issuing drivers licenses to undocumented immigrants. She has since reversed her positions on all of those issues. 
    • At July's Democratic primary debate, Gillibrand called to repeal the law criminalizing illegal border crossings and said it should be a civil violation. "He's using it as the crutch to lock up women and children, to separate mothers and babies, to put them behind bars," she said.
  • On climate change:
    • Signed on to the Green New Deal resolution, which aims to transition the US to 100% clean and renewable energy in 10 years, and stimulate the economy with millions of new jobs and an expanded social safety net.
    • Supports rejoining the Paris Climate Accord, taxing carbon, and requiring companies to report their climate impacts.
  • On campaign finance:
  • On abortion:
    • Supports the right to an abortion and advocates for expanding access to abortion. She was an outspoken opponent of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation. 
    • Voted against a bill in the Senate that would ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy. She has a 100% lifetime rating from Planned Parenthood. 
  • On LGBTQ rights: 
    • Pushed for the legalization of same-sex marriage in New York state in 2011 and called for the repeal of the military's "Don't ask, don't tell" policy.
    • She supports transgender individuals' rights and introduced a bill to reverse Trump's ban on transgender people serving in the military. 
  • On women's issues: 
  • On education:
    • Signed on to Sen. Bernie Sanders' College For All Act, which would waive tuition for all students attending public colleges and universities whose families make $125,000 a year or less.
    • She supports making community college tuition-free and universal pre-Kindergarten
  • On guns: 
    • Supports a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. As a senator, she's earned an "F" rating from the NRA, but when she was elected to Congress in 2006, she had an "A" rating from the group. 
  • On criminal justice reform:
  • On trade:
  • On foreign policy:
    • Has long supported withdrawing troops from Afghanistan. She voted against a Senate resolution condemning Trump's withdrawal of US troops from Syria.
    • She opposed Trump's withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal.
    • She also opposes US support for the Saudi-led war in Yemen.
    • Calls herself "one of the strongest and most consistent supporters of Israel in the Senate." She's opposed to the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, but voted against legislation that would outlaw BDS because of free speech concerns. She believes a two-state solution should be negotiated with Palestinians. 
  • On taxes and the economy:
  • On social safety net: 
  • On democracy reforms: 

What are Kirsten Gillibrand's political successes?

  • She wrote a bipartisan law, the 2012 STOCK Act, that prohibits members of Congress and their families from using non-public information to trade on the stock market. 
  • Played a central role in passing legislation re-creating the 9/11 Victims Compensation Fund.
  • Led the 2010 fight to repeal the military's "Don't Ask Don't Tell" policy.
  • Led Democratic senators in pressuring then-Minnesota Sen. Al Franken to resign from office amid several sexual misconduct allegations. 

How much money did Kirsten Gillibrand raise? 

Gillibrand's campaign raised $3 million in the first quarter of 2019 and $2.3 million in the second quarter.

How is Kirsten Gillibrand viewed by voters compared to the competition?

INSIDER has conducted a number of other polls to check in on how these candidates are perceived in comparison to one another. When we asked respondents to one poll to rank how far to the left or to the right they considered the candidates, Gillibrand was generally considered to be one of the more left-leaning candidates in the field. Gillibrand was in the middle of the pack when we asked respondents to rank the candidates based on how prepared they are for the rigors of the presidency given what they knew about their history of public service and experience with government. And when asked how likable or personable respondents perceived the candidates to be, Gillibrand beat just over half of her rivals.

Could Kirsten Gillibrand beat President Trump?

Referring back to INSIDER's recurring poll, Kirsten Gillibrand overall is believed to be a weaker candidate in a general election against Donald Trump compared to the whole field, but a large majority of respondents are still unsure about how she'd perform so there's plenty of opportunity to change perceptions.

Based on responses from Democratic primary voters, for a typical candidate surveyed about a third think they'll win, just shy of a third think they'll lose, and about 40 percent are unsure.

While it's early, Gillibrand isn't performing at that level among respondents: Only 15% think she'd beat Trump, nearly 40 percent think she'd lose, and half are unsure.

How do Democratic voters feel about Kirsten Gillibrand's qualifications?

INSIDER has conducted polling about how voters feel about candidate attributes or qualifications. We asked respondents about a list of possible qualifications and if they made them more likely or less likely to vote for a candidate for president.

For example, among respondents who said they'd vote in the Democratic primary, 19% said a candidate being a college professor made them likelier to support them, while 4% said it made them less likely to, for a +15% net favorability. We can then see how different candidates' resumes stack up compared to those preferences.

Attributes perceived as most valuable include her released tax returns (+43%), her position in the Senate (+40%), that she is multi-lingual (+25%), has an Ivy league education (+7%), and was a lawyer (+3%).

Attributes considered to be a liability based on the preferences of self-reported Democratic voters include her past as a corporate lawyer (-33%) who grew up wealthy (-42%).

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