WASHINGTON – Sen. Kirsten E. Gillibrand of New York appears to be edging closer to launching a bid for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination.
Gillibrand is planning to travel to Iowa, site of the first presidential caucus, next weekend, three sources told Politico. In addition, the Associated Press reported that Gillibrand is considering setting up a presidential campaign headquarters in Troy, near her Rensselaer County home.
New York's junior senator, Gillibrand has made it increasingly clear in recent months that she is considering a presidential campaign.
"I'm definitely thinking about it, of course," she told CNN in December. "I'm going to think about it over the holidays with my children and my husband, and I will make a decision soon."
But unlike Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts – who made her first trip to Iowa recently – Gillibrand has not yet set up a presidential exploratory committee.
Gillibrand is expected to join a historically huge slate of Democrats likely to seek a chance to oust President Trump, a Republican.
In addition to Warren and Gillibrand, big-name Democrats who are pondering a bid include former Vice President Joe Biden; former Rep. Beto O'Rourke of Texas; and Sens. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, Kamala Harris of California and Cory Booker of New Jersey. Several other lesser-known senators, House members, governors and mayors are also contemplating a run, as is former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
Gillibrand, like all the candidates, would enter the race with strengths and weaknesses. She has a nationwide fundraising base built on her longtime efforts to encourage women to enter politics, along with the Wall Street ties that all major New York politicians tend to develop. But she lags in name recognition behind Biden, Sanders and Warren, and her prospective candidacy has not yet generated the grassroots buzz surrounding a possible bid by O'Rourke.