Kirsten Gillibrand Just Took A Huge Step Toward Running For President In 2020

by Kavitha George
Alex Wong/Getty Images News/Getty Images

Announcement season for the 2020 presidential election is upon us, and the Democratic field is looking more diverse than ever. New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand's 2020 announcement on Stephen Colbert's show revealed that she's the latest politician entering the arena, following Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Tulsi Gabbard.

"I am filing an exploratory committee for president of the United States tonight," Gillibrand said on The Late Show.

[I am] going to run for president of the United States because as young mom I am going to fight for other people's kids as hard as I will fight for my own, which is why I believe health care should be a right, not a privilege. It is why I believe we should have better public schools for our kids because it shouldn't matter what block you grow up on. And I believe anybody who wants to work hard enough should be able to get whatever job training they need to earn their way into the middle class.

Although Gillibrand technically announced her exploratory committee, legally speaking, it's effectively the same thing as announcing her candidacy. That's because, as Vox explained, politicians must file a statement of their candidacy with the Federal Election Commission in order to form a formal exploratory committee in the first place.

Gillibrand has been hinting at her 2020 aspirations for some time now. Following the November midterm elections, in which she easily secured her Senate seat with 68 percent of the vote, she told the Late Show host she would be giving a presidential run "a long, hard thought of consideration." Now, that interview has come full circle.

"I do think it's an important question," she told Colbert at the time when he asked if she would be running. "I believe it is a moral question for me ... And as I've traveled across my state, across this country for all these candidates, I've seen the hatred and division that President Trump has put out into our country and it has called me to fight as hard as I possibly can to restore the moral compass of this country."

Gillibrand joins Democratic women Sen. Warren and Rep. Gabbard in declaring their own intentions to run for president in 2020. The Democratic pool of presidential hopefuls is expected to be vast, as contenders chomp at the bit for their opportunity to challenge the incumbent — President Donald Trump.

Whether or not any high-profile Republicans will run a plausible challenge the president's second term is not yet clear, though it has not been ruled out. Typically, the incumbent's party backs a sitting president's reelection bid, but the Trump administration has upset many American political norms, and there is speculation that 2020 might mark yet another shift in that direction.

Much could change between now and when the presidential campaign season will eventually be in full swing. One thing that's true is that the 2016 election was very drawn out, and given how early would-be candidates are announcing their campaign intentions, the 2020 election stands to last even longer.

Monica Busch contributed to this report.