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Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand announces 2020 presidential run

New York Democrat announced the news on ‘Late Night with Stephen Colbert’

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand has promised to stay away from corporate PAC money and has said it has a "corrosive effect" in politics. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand has promised to stay away from corporate PAC money and has said it has a "corrosive effect" in politics. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand has formed an exploratory committee to begin fundraising for a 2020 campaign for president.

The New York Democrat announced the news on “Late Night with Stephen Colbert” on Tuesday, and laid out her answer to the question every candidate is asked: Why do you want to run for president?

“I’m going to run for president of the United States because as a young mom, I’m going to fight for other people’s kids as hard as I fight for my own,” Gillibrand said, underscoring her support for universal health coverage, better public schools and vocational training. 

“But you are never going to accomplish any of these things if you don’t take on the systems of power that make all of that impossible — which is taking on institutional racism, it’s taking on the corruption and greed in Washington, taking on the special interests that write legislation in the dead of night,” she continued. “And I know that I have the compassion, the courage and the fearless determination to get that done.”

Gillibrand announced on Twitter that the committee has already garnered small dollar donations from 50 states. Though Gillibrand has historically accepted corporate donations, the senator recently vowed to abstain from money from corporate political action committees.

In a campaign video, Gillibrand previewed her platform by spotlighting her record on transparency and reducing the influence money in politics, championing worker cooperatives, securing equal pay for women and bringing down the price of prescription drugs.

The senator had already begun laying the groundwork for a presidential campaign.

Gillibrand has recruited seasoned Democratic operatives including former Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee chief spokeswoman Meredith Kelly to head communications and former Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee political director Dan McNally to direct the campaign.

She has scheduled her first trip to Iowa and has identified Troy, New York, a small city along the Hudson River where her family has roots, as the likely base for her campaign headquarters.

Griffin Connolly contributed to this report.Watch: First 2020 Senate race ratings are here

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