Kirsten Gillibrand is no longer running for president.
The New York Senator announced in a Wednesday tweet that she is suspending her presidential campaign. While Gillibrand said she’s “so proud” of what her team has accomplished in the 2020 race, she added that “it’s important to know how you can best serve.”
“To our supporters: Thank you, from the bottom of my heart,” Gillibrand said. “Now, let's go beat Donald Trump and win back the Senate.”
Throughout her short-lived campaign, Gillibrand distinguished herself as one of the most pro-LGBTQ+ candidates running for president. In June, she released an ambitious plan to further queer and trans rights if elected to the White House. Her agenda included passing the Equality Act, ending the ban on blood donations from gay and bisexual men, outlawing conversion therapy, and requring insurance plans to cover hormone replacement therapy (HRT).
“[LGBTQ+] Americans deserve a president who will always stand with them and protect their civil rights — without hesitation,” Gillibrand said in a statement announcing her plans. “Unfortunately, what they have right now is a bigoted, cowardly bully who makes the [LGBTQ+] community more vulnerable.”
Gillibrand was one of just a handful of candidates who had a comprehensive plan to advance LGBTQ+ equality in the White House. Others include Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, Bernie Sanders, and Marianne Williamson, but aside from former Congressman Beto O’Rourke, none matched Gillibrand’s in breadth and scope. Frontrunner Joe Biden’s website, in contrast, doesn’t mention LGBTQ+ rights.
The progressive lawmaker has also been one of the only 2020 contenders to raise LGBTQ+ issues during the presidential debates. During the second round of debates, she spoke about the effort to allow gay soldiers to serve openly in the military.
“As a freshman senator, I was told you couldn't repeal ‘don’t ask, don’t tell.' Even members of my own party told me it wasn't convenient,” Gillibrand said of the controversial policy’s 2010 repeal. “When are civil rights ever convenient? We stood up to the Pentagon and got it done — not impossible.”
The candidate, however, struggled to translate her fervent support for LGBTQ+ causes into mainstream support for her campaign. According to the website RealClearPolitics, she polled at .1 percent, a dismal 18th place.
By the end of her campaign, Gillibrand was so desperate to qualify for the third round of debates — which required 130,000 unique donors to meet the eligibility threshold — that her website was giving out free t-shirts to anyone who gave $1. The merchandise reportedly retailed for $30.