New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand will become the next Democrat to enter the 2020 presidential fray, according to CBS News, which reported Monday that she will announce her formation of an exploratory committee Tuesday during an appearance on the network's "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.”
The Associated Press, citing people familiar with Gillibrand's plans, also reported that she would launch a White House bid "within days." Representatives for the senator had no immediate comment when contacted by Fox News.
Gillibrand - who heads to the early caucus state of Iowa this weekend - would become the fifth Democrat, and the second senator, to officially jump into a presidential primary that could feature dozens of candidates before all is said and done.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts along with former Obama Cabinet member Julian Castro, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii and former Rep. John Delaney of Maryland are among those who have taken steps toward a 2020 run. Sens. Cory Booker of New Jersey and Kamala Harris of California could also enter the race soon.
While Gillibrand’s prominence as a face of her party has grown, she faces a tough battle to capture the attention of Democratic voters in a crowded field that’s expected to include multiple women. Several of her potential rivals have spent more time in critical primary states while Gillibrand has visited just one — New Hampshire — in October to stump for the Democratic candidate for governor.
She’s expected to move quickly this week to make connections in the leadoff caucus state of Iowa. She’s scheduled to headline a meeting with Democratic activists in Sioux City on Friday evening. The event is to be held at a private home with top donors to the Woodbury County Democratic Party.
Gillibrand has been in touch with some Iowa Democrats and enlisted the help of Lara Henderson, who was finance director for Fred Hubbell, the 2018 Democratic candidate for governor. But she hasn’t built up a network in the state to the degree of prospective rivals, including Booker and Harris.
She was appointed to the Senate in 2009 to succeed Hillary Clinton, who became secretary of state, and she easily won re-election, most recently in November. She has $10.6 million in her campaign fund, which can be used to jump-start a presidential bid.
During her time in the Senate, Gillibrand has been a central figure in Washington’s reckoning with the #MeToo era. In 2017, she was the first Senate Democrat to call on Sen. Al Franken of Minnesota, a fellow Democrat, to resign amid multiple sexual misconduct allegations. She has said President Bill Clinton should have stepped down after his relationship with a White House intern was revealed and has also called on President Donald Trump to resign over sexual assault allegations.
And before #MeToo, Gillibrand spent several years pushing for legislation addressing sexual assault in the military and on college campuses.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.