The 52-year-old Democrat announced her decision in a tweet Wednesday as her campaign, which once looked to ride strong #MeToo credentials, was plagued by low polling and fundraising struggles.
“I am so proud of this team and all we’ve accomplished. But I think it’s important to know how you can best serve,” she tweeted. “To our supporters: Thank you, from the bottom of my heart. Now, let’s go beat Donald Trump and win back the Senate.”
Gillibrand’s exit comes on a day that more than half the candidates were in peril of not making the third Democratic debate, with the Democratic National Committee’s cutoff for unique donors and polling numbers hitting at midnight. She likely will be joined by a number of other Democratic hopefuls leaving the race once the debate lineup is announced Thursday.
She formed an exploratory committee in January and officially entered the race in mid-March, but her “Brave”-themed campaign never picked up traction. She had trouble attracting big bunglers, in part because she was the first Senate Democrat to call for Sen. Al Franken’s ouster on the heels of #MeToo allegations, which she says alienated donors and some voters.
She also wasn’t getting the support of New Yorkers, with Gov. Andrew Cuomo putting his weight behind Democratic frontrunner Joe Biden.
Gillibrand was appointed to the Senate in 2009 to fill the seat vacated by Hillary Clinton. She was vocal on curbing sexual harassment and promoting equal pay for women and family leave, making those and defending abortion rights the core of her presidential bid.