Report: Gillibrand Campaign Insiders Felt Franken Resignation Foiled Her Bid

WASHINGTON, DC - AUGUST 19: Democratic presidential candidate U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) speaks during a Washington Post Live 2020 Candidates series event August 19, 2019 in Washington, DC. Gillibrand discus... WASHINGTON, DC - AUGUST 19: Democratic presidential candidate U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) speaks during a Washington Post Live 2020 Candidates series event August 19, 2019 in Washington, DC. Gillibrand discussed her view on various topics including gender and race issues, gun control, healthcare, and immigration. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images) MORE LESS
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August 29, 2019 2:08 pm
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New details have emerged since Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) withdrew her bid from the 2020 Democratic presidential primary Wednesday.

According to a Politico report Thursday, people from inside the Gillibrand campaign acknowledged that being the first Democratic senator to call for the resignation of former Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) last year over sexual misconduct allegations most likely played into the challenges she faced during her campaign, especially when it came to fundraising. Franken has said he “absolutely” regrets resigning.

A Gillibrand aide familiar with her campaign accounting, which started out as a $10 million campaign war chest, told Politico that it had dwindled to about $800,000.

By the time the polls were released Wednesday, the deadline to qualify for next month’s presidential debate, Politico reported that Gillibrand had already filmed a dropout video that morning and delivered the news to her staff at headquarters by mid-afternoon.

“Franken was definitely a problem in terms of fundraising,” a person familiar with the Gillibrand campaign told Politico. “He just kept coming up, over and over again.”

Jen Palmieri, Hillary Clinton’s former communications director, shared a similar sentiment on there being “no question” that the Franken resignation had a “huge, outsized impact” on Gillibrand’s campaign.

“The sub-current of her entire candidacy was the Franken resignation, and people unfairly pinning that on her,” Palmieri told Politico. “It’s a crowded field, and it’s hard for all the candidates, but that really hampered her.”

Read Politico’s report here.

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