United States Senator Kirsten Gillibrand has promised to refuse any corporate contributions, which may be a not-so-subtle message to voters regarding her political aspirations.
The New York Democrat’s pledge was made in part to secure an endorsement from End Citizens United, a left-leaning organization that fights to overturn a Supreme Court decision that has allowed for more corporate dollars to find their way into electoral campaigns. Several other prominent liberal senators have made the same pledge, including Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts.
As members of the Democratic Party jostle for position in terms of the 2020 presidential election, it is interesting to see Senator Gillibrand make this pledge. Like Sanders and Warren, Gillibrand is widely seen as a potential candidate for the White House. Like her two colleagues, many see rejecting corporate PAC money as an attempt to gain support from the liberal wing of the Democratic party.
After having served one term in the House of Representatives, Gillibrand was appointed to fill the seat in the Senate vacated by Hillary Clinton in 2009 when she was appointed to serve as secretary of state under President Barack Obama. Gillibrand was then elected in 2010 to finish out the rest of the term, and also won a full term in 2012.
Gillibrand is set to run for another term in the Senate this year, and has said that she has “ruled out” the possibility of running for president in 2020.
However, it is not uncommon for prominent politicians to initially suggest that they will not be running for a higher office and then change their minds. Elected leaders tend to worry that revealing higher aspirations will alienate some of their current constituents, particularly if they are still up for reelection to their current post, which Gillibrand is.
Many observers have long believed that Gillibrand is a likely 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, and her recent pledge certainly does nothing to convince them otherwise.