U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand is still trying to shore up endorsements from New York’s congressional delegation ahead of a potential 2020 bid for the White House, leaving her the only senator in an already crowded Democratic field without any congressional backing from her home state.
“No one seems to be willing to stick their neck out for” Gillibrand, Rebecca Katz, a New York-based Democratic consultant, told Politico.
“No one seems to be willing to stick their neck out."
Though her campaign is still in its exploratory phase, Gillibrand is working to garner support with U.S. House members. The task could remain difficult as some may wish to see the field develop. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has not closed the door on a run and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio plans to travel to early caucus and primary states. Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg -- a Democrat who has been both a Republican and an independent in the past -- recently announced he would not be running.
“She’s working hard, she’s been going into South Carolina, New Hampshire and Iowa,” said Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., of the early primary states.
Rep. Brian Higgins, D-N.Y., said Cuomo could still be in play for a 2020 presidential bid, but that he is open to throwing his support to Gillibrand.
“It’s too early to make any kind of decisive commitment without knowing the full lay of the land,” Higgins told the politics website. “It’s early and there’s seemingly new candidates coming in every single day.”
Gillibrand's difficulty shoring up support is in contrast to Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey, who has the support of his state’s Democratic delegation, as does Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont. Sen. Kamala Harris of California has not received endorsements from most of her Democratic colleagues but has secured the support of five House members, according to Politico.
New York Democratic Rep. Gregory Meeks told the site it was too early and that “I don’t know all the candidates yet. I’m going to wait to see who all of the candidates are.”
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer is expected to remain neutral in the 2020 primary. Some House members said privately that Gillibrand’s relationships with New York Democrats aren’t as strong as Schumer’s.
“We see and deal with him a lot more,” said one member, who told Politico they wished to remain anonymous.
Others are waiting to see whether former U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke of Texas throws his hat into the ring.
“Just by virtue of how large and diverse the New York and California delegations are and how complicated their internal politics can be, it will be harder for any presidential candidate to lock them down,” said Democratic strategist Craig Varoga. “It's a credit to Booker that he could get New Jersey, but it’s still easier to get New Jersey than California or New York — those just aren’t as realistic.”